Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
“We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In late November 1961 I was called to active duty with 5 ½ hours of warning. I was in my first year of training in Internal Medicine at UTH. I had received a notice from my draft board advising me I would be drafted as an enlisted man if I did not volunteer for a commission as an officer in the National Guard. That was certainly a no-brainer so I was made a member of the Guard with the rank of First Lieutenant. In less than 6 weeks I was called to active duty with “orders cut” for Korea. My MOS was 3100, General Physician. I was sent to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for 6 weeks before being sent to Korea for 21 months.
I was one of 60 physicians “called up” out of training. As a result of the abrupt nature of “our call”, a Colonel from the Pentagon was sent to interview us to see how we might be helped. When I was given an audience with the Colonel, I asked him if it would be to my advantage to return to Knoxville to finish out my first year of Residency in Internal Medicine training and be qualified to be considered to be an Internist. He advised against it and said in Korea I would be working out of the back of a truck. So be it.
Later my orders were changed and I was sent to Ft. Eustis, VA. as a General Medical Officer. 6 weeks later I was called to the Chief Executive’s Office of the McDonald Army Hospital and he told me my MOS was changed from a 3100 to a 3108. I became an Internist by the stroke of a pen. Welcome to the Army.
Jesus had called 12 very different men to follow Him. They had reason to believe that He was the long awaited Jewish Messiah. James and John were jockeying for positions of importance in Jesus’ Kingship. To their surprise and perhaps to ours, they were informed that their job description, a kind of MOS, was that of servant or slave whichever you prefer.
Now if this is the offer to James and John and 10 others, it is likewise the offer to us. The job description is not too attractive but the benefits are unmatched.
If your heart is changed by the love of Christ in rebirth, this title is much more easily accepted since this is God’s will.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Matthew 6: 19-24
It is surely true that “you can’t take it with you, but you can send it ahead.”
A previous told story is that of a man whose request was that five thousand dollars cash be placed in his casket. His widow made one minor alteration. She substituted a check for the cash.
Scriptures makes it clear that we are to worship God only and not materialism. Perhaps, if you have a gift that allows you to make more money than you and your family need, you should give some away, but take care in your philanthropy.
A young physician, new to Knoxville several years ago, asked if he could speak to me. When alone, he confessed he was “making too much money” and was uncomfortable doing so. My advice was to pick honorable charities and give it away.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
The epitome of a servant is to give his life for others. When the Hebrews were presented with the 22nd Psalm and the Suffering Servant passages in Isaiah, they did not know of whom they spoke. It is only in the life and light of Jesus that this mystery surrenders to discovery. It is only in the conception, life, sacrificial death and resurrection from the grave of Jesus that the magnitude of the gift of eternal life is revealed.
The call to us as the followers of Jesus is to embrace servanthood. In so doing we glorify God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Our pursuing such places us in the Father’s will and provides joy, now and in the life to come.