As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.
My thoughts (David Zier):
As I read this scripture, I was reminded of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
James and John were not agreeing to raise money for Jesus, but it sounds to me that when they said, “let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left,” they meant, “We will follow you as long as there’s a good position for us in heaven.”
So maybe I exaggerate a little, but I can see this playing out in this text. Jesus gives them a difficult response, one that Mr. Blagojevich would find difficult to swallow. “It’s not my decision who gets the good positions or the best places in heaven, but you must follow me, and share my suffering, learn about sacrifice, and learn to be a servant to others.”
What does this mean for me? Am I willing to sacrifice as Jesus asks? Do I allow sacrifice in my own life of faith?
It seems we do everything to make ourselves comfortable. We require a convenient time to go to church, to sit in nice cushy seats, fellowship time with plenty of food and treats, parking in close proximity to the doors, and everything presented neat and tidy so to make life easier for us. How many of us experience suffering in this life as Christ showed us, or even as the Disciples or Paul had to endure in their time? Are we supposed to be “easy” Christians?
Without any kind of sacrifice, what kind of faith do I have? What kind of power does my faith hold with no sacrifice? Do I offer myself and what I have generously to the point of sacrifice to grow my soul, or do I do it in a way that is easy and nonthreatening, that allows me to just coast through this life?
Sacrifice was the main component of Jesus’ ministry. Do I demand the benefits of a life of faithful discipleship, yet forget to live out that faith in sacrifice as Jesus asks?
Prayer for the day: God, I pray that my faith and walk with Jesus leads me to a place where I learn what it means to sacrifice, and grow my soul. Amen.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.