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Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28 NIV

In the Gospel of Matthew, the mother of James and John came to Jesus asking that her boys be given places of honor and authority in Jesus' kingdom–one on his right and the other on his left. Mom had missed the message that came immediately before, where Jesus told the disciples what to expect when they arrived in Jerusalem–Jesus would be arrested, sentenced, tortured, and crucified (v. 18-19). Had Mom known this part, she likely wouldn't have been so quick to speak; after all, who would desire their sons to be associated with a king who would soon die? Jesus tells her as much, "You don't know what you are asking." (v. 22) Turning then to James and John, he asks them (I'm paraphrasing), "Are you ready? Having heard what your Mom didn't, do you still want this?" The brothers affirm, "Yes, Jesus, we're ready." Jesus replies (paraphrase), "While the Father determines those places, I can tell you that to follow me means giving your all. It's not about what you can do for yourself but what you can do for others. My kingdom is not an earthly one of power and prestige but of love and sacrifice." (Note: the Gospel of Mark tells the same story minus Mom.)

What can we take away from this story? The Kingdom of God is unlike any earthly government–than you, Jesus! It isn't based on money, power, and prestige. The material things of this world matter nothing. Inflated egos hold no value. No, it's the least of these, those who walk humbly in service before God. "Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage." (20:24-28 MSG)

As disciples of Jesus, those who drink from the cup of Christ, who have accepted him as our Lord and Savior, to follow him is to be a servant. We are to be servants of God in serving others. There is a lot of latitude in what service looks like; it can be holding people up in prayer, fasting for peace in the world, working in a soup kitchen, or giving financial support to worthy organizations that help others. Whatever we do, however we do it, it is to be done with sacrificial and loving hearts, the same love God demonstrated to us in sending his only Son to offer us salvation.

Gracious God,

We come before you with humble hearts, seeking to understand the profound truth revealed in your Word. Your Servant Son taught us that greatness lies not in power or prestige but in service and selflessness. As we meditate on these verses, we lift our prayers to you:

Lord, help us embrace servanthood: May we recognize that true greatness is found in serving others. Open our eyes to the needs around us—the hurting, the broken, the marginalized. Teach us to be willing vessels, ready to pour out love, compassion, and kindness.

Grant us the heart of a servant: Transform our ambitions and desires. May we lift others up instead of seeking recognition or prominence? Let our hands be quick to serve, our words be filled with encouragement, and our hearts overflow with generosity.

Just as your Son did not come to be served but to serve, may we follow His footsteps. Jesus willingly laid down His life as a ransom for many. Help us grasp the depth of His sacrifice and live sacrificially for others.

Lord, enable us to love even when it costs us. May we serve without expecting anything in return, knowing that our reward is in heaven. Teach us to see every act of service as an opportunity to reflect your love.

Heavenly Father, we surrender our ambitions at your feet. May our lives be marked by selflessness, compassion, and a heart that seeks to serve. 

In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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