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07.18.21 What We Can and Can’t Do Mark 10.35-45 Sermon Summary

by on July 20, 2021

There are things we can do, and things we can’t. We can’t determine our position in heaven. James and John had a vision, to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand in the Kingdom. So they asked, “What do we have to do?”

Jesus replied, “Can you drink the cup I drink? Can you share my baptism?” “Yes,” they answered, and Jesus was impressed. I think he was actually surprised. “Indeed,” he responds, but he also reflects. 

“Where you sit in the Kingdom is not up to me. It is up to God.” In other words, we can’t impact our “place” in heaven. It is in God’s hands, and God’s hands alone.

But Jesus does indicate how we can be “great.” He reveals the secret to being “first.” It is to, “be the servant of all.” To serve, self-sacrificially. To seek the common good and not our own good.

We can’t influence our place in the afterlife. But we can pursue greatness. We can position ourselves as number one. We can pursue advancement. And the path is service, things like: Civil service, military service, social justice advocacy, community service, teaching, public utilities, politics, community organizing, and providing for and protecting vulnerable communities.

We believe that God’s Spirit gifts each member of the church with special interests, talents, and skills for the common good of the church. But just as God works beyond the church, and the Spirit moves outside the church, so we give thanks for the many ways people serve the common good through channels not related to the church. 

Jesus calls the church to follow him on the path of service, of care for the neighbor, of love for our enemy. In our own individual lives, this call finds infinite unique expressions, as we each consider the cares of our neighbors, as we protect the interest of the weak, as we desire to be the best version of ourselves according to God’s vision upon our lives. 

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Let your light so shine before others that they may receive the blessing of your service and give thanks to God.” Amen.

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