"43 But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant.” Mark 10:43 CEB In our culture it should not be surprising that someone would sacrifice one hour every week to go to church. Sunday is not the sacred day it used to be in our culture. Yet, when someone decides that they will go to church on Sunday it is a fairly normal experience in our society. I drive to church every Sunday morning and pass a lot of people who seem to be heading to church. I am not surprised when people come to church. I am very pleased when they come to St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, but I am not surprised. I believe it is still a very important place to be on a Sunday morning, or a Saturday night. So here is something that I am very surprised by … I am surprised when someone truly loves Jesus and is willing to make sacrifices for the sake of their Savior. I am surprised when an executive who is on track for major success and wealth decides to pour their life into building an orphanage instead of advancing to the next rung on the ladder of success. I am surprised when a retired business woman decides to give away her dividends from her stock to help build the kingdom instead of continuing to build her wealth. I am surprised when people who are not rich by worldly standards decide to give more than they ever thought they would to support the mission of the church. I am surprised when people give up vacation time to serve the church here in Brandon, in Jacksonville, in Costa Rica, and in Africa. I am surprised when people are so sold out to the mission of the local church that they will work on like they are on staff for free! What is the difference between those who attend church on Sunday and those who love Jesus so much they are willing to sacrifice? It is the radical change the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes in one’s life. The reality is some accept Jesus, some are sold out to Jesus. In the narratives of Jesus’ life there are three types of people: 1) The Crowds, 2) The Followers, and 3) Disciples. The crowds are seeking to see what’s different about Jesus, many of the followers are seeking to understand Jesus, the disciples are called to serve everyone. The crowds were curious people. These folks just wanted to catch a glimpse of this guy named Jesus. They had heard the buzz about all Jesus had been doing and they wanted to see it for themselves. These folks were not committed to what Jesus was teaching, they simply wanted to see what everyone was talking about. It was awesome that they were seeking to see what was different about Jesus. Seeing may very well have led to believing for some of them. The followers were those who came and saw what Jesus was doing and decided to follow him. Perhaps they believe if they could just see him, touch the hem of his garment, their life would change. They had to take time off work, rearrange their schedule and follow Jesus wherever Jesus went. They believed at a strong level Jesus was special, he was the Messiah, the Son of God. They were willing to give some of their time and sacrifice some areas of their lives to follow Jesus. The disciples, however, left everything to follow Jesus. These folks were radically changed by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They sacrificed their careers, their families, and eventually (for some) their lives for the cause of Jesus. They were the ones who were charged with carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ to go into all the nations. They were the ones who changed everything. Despite all of this they argued about who was the greatest among them. Jesus knew they were arguing about this when he said, “But that’s not the way it will be with you.” In other words, you need to be different. Jesus went on to say, “Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant.”
Christ calls us to follow him with our whole life. It isn’t enough to be curious, it isn’t enough to follow for a while. We are called to sacrificial service, to be different, to be radically changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Has the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus radically changed your heart and mind? If so, it is to be different with you. The question becomes, “How can I serve everyone today, Lord?” Go and be different! Go and be a servant! This weekend we will hear from members of our Thrive Student Ministry missions team. We will discuss the influence serving together in Jacksonville and how God worked in and through them. I hope you will join us this week and every week. The best is yet to come at St. Andrew’s and I can’t wait to see you in church!