Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” ... And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The desire for power and authority can be a dark force in our lives. For many years my ambition for such position created such a dissatisfaction in my life. And in the end when I had such authority I found that I was really not suited for it. I remember coming to grips with that and thinking about how much energy I wasted wanting a position that I was not good at. Such is the seduction of power. We long to have it and are not happy when we get it. And in seeking such power our pride is exposed and on display for all to see.
Jesus speaks to this desire and tells us of the difference between earthy and heavenly power. When we look at his life we see a gentle authority that has its roots in compassion. We see in Jesus a humility beyond comprehension. The night before his death, at the Last Supper, Jesus tries to drive home the idea of servant leadership as he stoops down and washes filthy feet. In his life we get a picture of what it is like to lead.. in his actions we see one who serves.. and on the cross we understand the cost of such leadership.
I again repent of my desire for earthly power. Give me the heart of a servant.