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Serving and Leading

Daily Reading: Mark 10

Scripture Focus: The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized. (Mark 10.39)

Devotional Thought: Moms want the best for their children, don’t they? They will go to great lengths to give their kids every possible opportunity to succeed. Sometimes, they even go beyond what is proper. The mother of James and John did. In love, she went beyond what was proper and asked Jesus for a special favor for her two boys: “Let them sit at your right and left hand in your kingdom.” Jesus let her – and her sons – know right away: with leadership comes sacrifice, even suffering. Position attained without sacrifice is dangerous. I often quote, the unnamed Jewish rabbi who said, “To receive without giving corrodes the soul.”

Without sacrifice, leadership feels like privilege. Instead of being focused on those led, leadership becomes all about the needs and wants of the leader. God found fault with those Old Testament shepherds: “Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep” (Ezekiel 34.2-3).

Without sacrifice, leadership feels like control. Jesus laid down his life for his sheep. He said his sheep hear and know his voice and follow him. They are not coerced into doing his will, but rather joyfully follow the voice of love. Leadership is not about coercion, but rather about service. And, service demands sacrifice.

Jesus told that mom and those boys that his leadership would demand the ultimate sacrifice. He had a cup to drink and a baptism to undergo. If they wanted to be at his right hand in leadership, they had to be at his right hand in sacrifice.

How about you? Are you ready to drink his cup and undergo his baptism?

Prayer: Lord, I desire to sit at your right hand of service and at your left hand of sacrifice. Help me to drink your cup and undergo your baptism. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 7.1-5

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