But Jesus called them together and said, You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.
But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:25-28 (NLT)
The mother of James and John came to see Jesus and knelt before him with a special request. She asked if he would allow her sons to sit in places of honor next to him in his kingdom; one on his left and one on his right. Jesus responds by telling the brothers they did not know what they were asking and then he asks them if they were able to "drink the bitter cup of suffering" which Jesus was about to drink. They assured him that they could. Little did they realize what that cup of suffering was!
Jesus responds by telling them that they indeed will drink of that same cup. They do. James was the first of the Apostles to be martyred. We learn in Acts 12 that he was executed by order of Herod. We know that John also suffered for the sake of the Gospel and was also exiled to the Isle of Patmos. Jesus also tells them that the Father will be the one doing the choosing as to who would have that honor.
When the other disciples learned of this conversation, they were furious. How dare James and John put themselves above the others! Jesus calls them together and explains the difference between the way the world views "greatness" and the way God views it.
As Christians, it would do us well to remember that we are not in this world to be served. We are here to serve! There are many within the Kingdom of God who have fallen simply because they have allowed pride to take root in their hearts and instead of being serving those whom God has placed them over, they have focused on being served.
This is not right. Does the shepherd serve the sheep, gently caring for them and meeting their needs or do the sheep serve the shepherd? Contrary to popular opinion, we are not called to be "lords" for there is only one Lord and that is Jesus Christ! We are called to serve. We are called to serve God and we are called to serve one another. We are called to serve a lost and dying world by being the hands and feet of Jesus in this world so that they might come to know him.
We would do well to examine our hearts daily and ask God to help us to have the heart of a servant. A heart befitting a Servant of God!