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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 10:35–45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (NRSV)

This reminds me of a quote attributed to Muhammad Ali: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

In these passages, Jesus admonishes his disciples to serve others, not to think of themselves first. It is the core teaching of Mark’s Gospel. In a broader sense, each of us is a servant of God and of each other. Throughout my business career, the best leaders I’ve worked with have been servant leaders—not focused on enriching themselves but on building up everyone around them. A servant mentality is infectious and fulfilling.

There are so many ways to be of service, and each of us has gifts to share in different ways. What are some of the things you can do to serve your community, this church, and the people in your life? Start small and big things will happen.

Dear God, please show me the way to serve others and to serve you. I am ready to receive your guidance. In your name. Amen.

Written by Lesley Conzelman, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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