On Mother’s Day we usually share stories of mothers being loving and wonderful. On Sunday I will be telling the story of loving mother who was so desperate to get help for her daughter that she endured humiliation. But this morning my scripture reading was about a mother that was way out of line in trying to help her sons. Listen to this story in in Matthew twenty.
“The mother of James and John came to Jesus with her two sons. She knelt down and started begging him to do something for her. Jesus asked her what she wanted, and she said, ‘When you come into your kingdom, please let one of my sons sit at your right side and the other at your left.’”
Wow! I can’t believe she actually did this. I have seen parents be very obnoxious with coaches, teachers and youth leaders but this is with Jesus. Had she not watched how Jesus behaved with others? She really missed the point. Her request created drama within the disciples; apparently, the others wanted to have the seats of honor also. Jesus first response was “‘You have no idea what you’re asking.’ And he said to James and John, ‘Are you capable of drinking the cup that I’m about to drink?’” The cup Jesus was referring to was his death. He was going to lay down his life for the sins of humanity. Jesus went on to teach them about leadership in the kingdom of God. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. 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.” The greatest in the Kingdom of God are those who serve. I think we often miss the point with James and John’s mother. We try to promote, push or politic ourselves into positions of leadership. Jesus was to serve. Start serving right where you are, with the people closest to you and then work out. Expand your service circle to friends, neighbors, those you work with, church people and the community. Prayer: Lord, forgive us for acting like the world. Humble us and teach us to be servants. Amen.