When James and John asked Christ, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory,” Jesus responded with a challenge, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mark 10.37-38) What the disciples were hoping for glory was not quite what Jesus had in mind.
Many of us seek glory in life. We desire to be honored by our family, friends and coworkers. We desire to be recognized for the hard work and accomplishments we collect throughout our adult careers. We expect that our worldly success will gain us influence among our neighbors and fellow citizens of society. We even dare many times to think that God will ring the bells of heaven “just because” we are entering the Holy Gates. But that isn’t the type of glory Jesus had in mind.
Jesus said, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.” (Mark 10.42-44)
The sort of glory Jesus had in mind was serving our fellow human beings, and worrying more about their needs than our own glory. The sort of glory Jesus had in mind was for us to become like Him, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” (Mark 10.45) The other kinds of glory…..let’s leave that sort of glory for those outside the Kingdom.
Does serving others mean that we do whatever the other desires? There is a difference between doing everything that someone wants and serving them. Christ calls us to serve others in the way He served us. In this case, Christ didn’t give James and John whatever they wanted. Instead He “offered Himself” in service of what they needed. Sometimes serving others means to offer ourselves for their salvation. If we want to serve others, then we will want to offer ourselves as Christ did.