What’s In It For Me?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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"What is your request?" he asked. She replied, "In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left."

Matthew 20:21

Irony abounds in this passage. Just as Jesus finished predicting his gruesome death, the mother of two of his closest disciples, with them in tow, asked that they might be honored more than anyone else among Jesus' followers. Talk about a strange contrast, not to mention inappropriate boldness!

It's easy for me to look down my nose at this self-centered family. But then I begin to see myself in them. Haven't I come to Jesus primarily for what I can receive from him? Don't I continue to ask him for my own blessings? Aren't I eager to share in Jesus' glory but to avoid the fellowship of his sufferings?

The rewards of following Jesus are indeed rich, including abundant, eternal life. We all come to Jesus because of what we gain from him. But as we grow in our discipleship, we find ourselves more willing to give ourselves to him, to sacrifice for his sake. We start asking, "What's in it for you, Lord?" rather than just "What's in it for me?" Of course, irony abounds in this situation as well, because in giving up our life to Jesus, we receive it back in greater fullness and joy.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Is your relationship with Jesus more about what's in it for you or what's in it for him? What helps you to become less self-interested and more interested in the kingdom of God?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, though I may be more subtle in my prayers, I am so much like the mother of James and John. I want you to give me what I want. I seek what's best for my family and friends. Your cross and its implications are something I'd rather ignore sometimes, to be honest. So, forgive me for my self-centeredness, for seeing our relationship primarily in terms of what's in it for me.

Lord, help me to offer myself to you, freely and fully. May I live, not for my own glory, but for yours.

Yet, even as I pray this prayer, I realize that in giving myself to you I receive my own life back better than it was before. I can't outgive you! Thank you for your amazing grace in my life! Amen.