Leaping with one another
Listen to this daily worship
Matthew 20: 20-28 (NRSVA)
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. 21 And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ 22 But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ 23 He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’
24 When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26 It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’
Our theme this week is ‘Leaping into Action’. As we consider this, we discover that faith is not an individual sport or activity. Nor is it a competition for personal recognition. Rather, it is like a team sport, where we encourage and depend on one another. James and John were swiftly told off by the captain, Jesus, that they could not call in favours and expect to be assigned to privileged positions in the team. “If anyone would be first, they must be last of all, and servant of all.”
Children often want to be the ones chosen for a special role. The hands shoot up in the air, and the words come out, “Me first”, “Choose me”, or simply “Me, me me.” Christian maturity takes the reverse attitude, being ready to help but not seeking privilege in the process.
The job description of a disciple of Jesus might be summed up as: ‘Long term team player needed for challenging work’. Leaping with God is not leapfrogging over others, it's leaping with others. Like the Brownlee brothers in the dramatic end to the Triathlon World Series in 2016, when Alistair propped up an exhausted Jonny and helped him over the finishing line. We leap into action and get there together, as a team for Jesus, with the promise of the Holy Spirit to be our guide.
Lord, give us opportunities to serve today. In our daily work, in our leisure, in our interactions with other people, give us grace and wisdom to respect and encourage others. So may we be ready to leap into action as part of your team. And may our goal be to seek first to serve, rather than to be served. In Jesus’ name, Amen.