“James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:35-36)
Ah, chutzpah! A Jewish/Yiddish word meaning (loosely) having more nerve and bravery than you should. I am sure Jesus was greatly amused to hear what their request might be.
“And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” (Verses 37-40)
Amused, but also sad; I am sure Jesus was both. James and John, I think, were put to death for their faith. And suffered while spreading the word of God. Jesus knew how their lives would end, and perhaps offered a prayer to God that , when they time came, they would be able to withstand the “drinking of their cup” and the “baptism” they were forced to endure.
“When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Verses 41-45)
There is this idea amongst many people (I do not know how it got started) that Christians are especially blessed and have an easier life. An “easier life” is so relative. What does that mean? That Christians have no unmet wants? Not true. That Christians nothing to fear? Again, not true. That God watches out for Christians more than “other people”? Definitely not true! If Christians seem to “glide” through life it is simply because they depend on God for their needs, and come to God with their fears. And Christians don’t have a “get out of anything” pass from God.
Beloved reader, the Christian life is complicated. On the one hand it is “this”; on the other hand it is the opposite being “that.” It greatly depends on one’s perspective. One can be satisfied with the meager-est of lives because God is a orienting presence in your life. Or one can be dissatisfied with everything in the world because God is not a part of it.
And then on the “other” other hand, the Christian life can be the simplest thing in the world; love God and follow Christ’s example. And that’s all it is!
What I can tell you is this; in all you do, make God first in your life. And I guarantee you that God will not put you at the end of the Lord’s list! Selah!