Okay, I admittedly was somewhat half-hearted yesterday. I’ll do better today.
So. James and John have a lot of gumption in this passage, I suppose. I mean, I guess you need to ask at some point. But still. I don’t think I would ask God for that, because He knows all of my faults and flaws better than I do, so He would know how completely unworthy I am of that position. James and John are kind of conceited to ask for it. Do they really think that they have been that superior to the other disciples, let alone everyone else?
And then they say that they are able to handle what Jesus is going to go through, or to handle following Him. Which is sort of true, since Jesus doesn’t dismiss it. It reminds me of being a naïve kid and thinking I could handle anything God would throw at me, because my faith was strong and pure and limitless! Of course, God knows exactly where in the gut it would hurt most to punch. Stupid naïve Christine, asking to prove her faith. Stupid naïve James and John here.
So of course the other disciples are going to feel indignant. The second part, though, I think goes more into the idea of what is a leader: a person who serves. Which isn’t as easy to be as it is so to be said. I mean, politicians say all the time that they try to serve the public—you can even call them civil servants—but they’re also voting for their pay increases and pensions. That isn’t a true leader. A servant isn’t getting paid the most.
It’s how I would appreciate leadership in a job setting. I think Richard Branson (in secular terms) one said that to manage, he takes care of his employees, because they will in turn take care of the clients. I think that’s sort of the crux of servant leadership. Taking care of those you are supervising; assisting them, helping them, training them. They will do the work in turn. That’s the sort of boss I would want to work for, and the sort of boss I would want to be.
And that’s probably the best sort of community leader, too. Working to serve the community so they can be a community. It’s the back seat, and it isn’t glorious, but it’s the most effective way to lead. It’s not about bossing people around. It’s about helping people so they can do the right thing.