20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask… -Matthew 20:20-22a (KJV)
Is this really so odd that a mother would make a request such as what we find in the above passage of Scripture? I do not think so. Parents will go to great lengths on behalf of their children. How many parents have gone to a teacher and asked if their child might receive some special help? How many parents have gone before a judge and asked leniency for their grown child? We have no way of knowing, but the numbers are large I am sure. The mother of James and John came to Jesus with a request; I would like my sons to sit on either side of your throne in your kingdom. They were already what we might call Jesus’ right hand men, but she wanted them to have the same status in the coming kingdom.
Jesus led her to a completely different way of thinking, which was to go spiritually deeper. Jesus told her she did not know what she was truly asking. Have you ever heard the old saying about being careful what you ask for? Why is this? The old answer is because you just might get it. Back in 1902, WW Jacobs wrote his classic horror tale, “The Monkey’s Paw,” in which he took this line of thought to a literal sense. The elderly couple had three wishes, and while their wishes came true, it was not in a way they had hoped for at all.
Jesus was letting James and John’s mother know she did not fully comprehend the scope of what she was asking. If I were to ask the Lord to allow me to be great in His kingdom, I believe I know the answer. The Lord would say, “Okay, but you will have to start on the bottom floor.” Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant (Matthew 23:11). I try to take an attitude of just being glad to be here. Let us content ourselves with being lowly servants of God, because when we humble ourselves before Him, what does He do? He will lift us up. I would be happy to be the lowliest servant in God’s kingdom because I know if I am faithful, He will promote me at the proper time. Wherever God has placed you, grow, thrive, serve the Lord, and commit yourself to your calling. God will then move you on to something different, perhaps better, in His time. Serve the Lord with gladness and patience.
God bless you today.