Stressful times

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An argument broke out among the disciples over which one of them should be regarded as the greatest.

But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles rule over their subjects, and those in authority over them are called ‘friends of the people.’ But that’s not the way it will be with you. Instead, the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a servant. So which one is greater, the one who is seated at the table or the one who serves at the table? Isn’t it the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

“You are the ones who have continued with me in my trials. And I confer royal power on you just as my Father granted royal power to me. Thus you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel. ~Luke 22:24-30 (CEB)

Being a disciple was becoming stressful. The pace clearly had quickened during this three-year course in discipleship. The crowds had grown larger and demanded more. The lessons to be learned often seemed over the heads of the disciples. Jesus talked more and more about his own death and what was to follow. Frankly the disciples did not understand it, and the more confused they became, the more frustrated they became. We can appreciate that phenomenon. It happens to us. When we are under a heavy load for a long period of time, we often become frustrated, impatient, and sometimes not very nice to be around. We even begin to compare ourselves to others and begin to think that we deserve a little bigger slice of the reward pie than even our closest friend.

That kind of reaction to stress may explain why the disciples began arguing about who was to be regarded as the greatest among those who followed Jesus. Jesus shattered their hopes of achieving special status or special reward (Luke 22:26).

The world’s system of reward has nothing to do with the disciple’s system of reward. A disciple of Jesus Christ is called first to be servant of all, and the leader is to take the lowliest position of service. This system turns the world’s concept of leadership upside down. The first disciples found it hard to understand and even more difficult to live by such a value system. But Jesus seems to say there is no other way. Disciples serve. ~From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

Heavenly Father, help me to keep my focus on whatever is true, not on the things that I perceive to be true. In my trials ease my frustration, bolster my patience and help me love those You have placed in my life with Your heart. Help me to serve others this day so that I can be Your hands and feet to the world. Amen.

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