It is not unusual to desire to be great at something. This desire is what leads to extraordinary achievement. It is a good thing to want to set your sights high. Just as it is a commendable trait to have the desire to elevate yourself in this world, it is a good thing to have the desire to elevate yourself in the kingdom of God.
There was a mother who came to Jesus with her two sons and humbly asked Him if her two sons could sit by Him, one on His right and on His left in His kingdom. Then Jesus turned to these two sons and asked them if they were willing to do what was necessary to be granted this honor. They said they could do what was necessary. Then Jesus told them that they did not know what they were asking for, and that it was not up to Him but it was up to the Father.
These two sons were disciples of Jesus, James and John. Their request was made in front of the other ten disciples and it offended and insulted them. Jesus saw the division this caused and used it as a teaching opportunity for these growing disciples of His. He gathered them together and brought clarity to the issue.
Jesus went right to what was bothering the ten disciples. The problem was that these disciple saw James and John as wanting to be of greater stature than them and even have authority over them. Jesus knew what was in their thoughts and quickly put things in a right perspective with a comparison of what was common in the culture with the Gentile rulers who lorded their stature and power over the people. This is what the ten disciples saw in James and John’s request to sit on either side of Jesus in the kingdom. Jesus redirected their human perspective to a divine perspective.
Matthew 20:26-27 NKJV “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave.”
Jesus said that there was nothing wrong with wanting to be great in His kingdom, and there was a way to become great in the eyes of the Father. Jesus even encouraged His disciples to be great in the kingdom.
How? Instead of desiring to be on top, you must be on the bottom. If you want to be great in God’s kingdom then you must be willing to be a servant. And Jesus goes even farther and says that if you want to be first among God’s people, you must be their slave.
If serving other believers to the point that you become their slave is the way to greatness in God’s kingdom, then there are countless opportunities to become great in God’s kingdom! I am sure you know of many people with needs that could use your help. Why settle for “ordinary” in God’s kingdom when you can be great?! God wants you to be great in His kingdom, but in His way.
So, was it wrong for James and John to want to be great in the kingdom of God? Absolutely not! But their focus was wrong. Instead of wanting to be up front sitting on either side of Jesus, they should have been focusing on how they could serve the other ten disciples. This is where true greatness in the kingdom of God is found!
So, don’t settle! Be great in God’s kingdom! Be a humble servant just like Jesus was!
Have a great day!
If you would like to receive my posts by email go to my website, GrowingBigInGod.com and sign up! Thanks, Dick