Monday, January 30, 2017

January 30

Exodus 10:1-12:13; Matthew 20:1-28; Psalm 25:1-15; Proverbs 6:6-11

There is much in the texts today about sons—Egypt’s firstborn sons dying, Israelite’s firstborn sons being saved from death by blood brushed on the doorposts, and grown sons who desire a position of prominence in the Kingdom of God.

I have two sons. I love them dearly. They are my first and second born children. Each is smart and well educated. Each has talents and abilities. And I have been ambitious for each of them to excel. I will gladly corner you in the grocery store and tell you about my sons’ successes: one’s score on the LSAT or the other’s ability to tell a story and make the listeners laugh, how they both have advanced degrees and have excelled in their fields of study and interest.

So I identify with the story of the mother of Zebedee’s sons—a mother who is longing for her sons to be successful!  She boldly asks Jesus for her sons to sit at the right and left hands in the Kingdom of God. She wanted the best for them—the very best—that they should be at the top of the ladder when Jesus establishes His kingdom! I would have done exactly the same thing if I had been walking around in Israel over two thousand years ago, watching my sons become acquainted with the rising young rabbi in Israel. I would have thought, “Hey, my sons are the best and the brightest! They are the most qualified to be second in command to the leader!” I can just imagine me foolishly rushing to Jesus to give Him this information, just like Zebedee’s wife did.

Imagine her horror when she learns that the positions of authority in the Kingdom of God will be given to the most humble persons, the ones most willing to serve others, the ones who will lay down their lives. Where’s the glory in that?

I have learned this, too, at the feet of Jesus. He will exalt whom He will exalt. He sees the heart; He looks for “the humble and guides them in what is right” (Prov. 25:9). He loves my sons, but He does not honor them for being smart or being well-educated or being decent and kind men. He honors those who seek the Kingdom of God and serve it like a slave, doing whatever the Master asks.

Oh, God, when will I learn that the door to greatness is a small and lowly door of service to others? May that be my ambition for my sons.

- Nell Sunukjian

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