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Friday, July 25, 2014

Feast of Saint James, Apostle

“Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom* for many.” (Matthew 20:27-28)


It was a selfish request, the one made by James’ and John’s mother. But now that I’m a mother, I realize that I’m really not so different from this selfish mom. You could argue that she simply recognized Jesus’ Divinity and Power, and asked for His favor on her sons.

If you knew someone in high places wouldn’t you do the same? Don’t I want and long for the best things for my own sons? But this wasn’t a simple favor. Even the other disciples recognized that. They argued about prestige amongst themselves as well. Jesus replied (to the mother and to us), “You do not know what you are asking”… and I dare say that most of the time we don’t. Many of our requests to God stem from selfish desires, don’t they? Yes, even some of the honorable ones, like ones from a mother’s heart. But Christ already knew this about us. I think He knew the real answer when He asked, “Can you drink from the cup that I’m going to drink?”

Instead of ranting “Do you have ANY idea what I’m about to go through so you can experience heaven????” He laid out a lesson on being a servant. He got down and dirtied his hands by washing his disciple’s feet; He got up on a cross and bloodied them to give his life. He gave the ultimate example of servanthood.

As God’s Son he did not come with any VIP attitudes. Instead he brought VIP passes for us. God’s own Son did not come to be served but to serve. So I think about how I will pray and how I will teach my boys about greatness. How will I be His servant today?


God of Mercy,

who meets us in our humanness,

Help us find greatness in serving others.

Through Christ’s example and the Spirit’s power. Amen.


Kara Petersen, MD
Avera Medical Group Rheumatology, Sioux Falls

2 CORINTHIANS 4:7-15 • PSALM 126:1BC-2AB, 2CD-3, 4-5, 6 •MATTHEW 20:20-28

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