Man’s Selfish Ambition and Vanity

We all want to be successful. We all want to be seen and recognized. It is man’s flaw. In Mark 10, after Jesus tells the disciples for the third time that he will be betrayed and tortured to death for us, James and John have the gall to ask Jesus, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”

How selfish they were, and God meant for this to be a lesson to us of man’s selfish ambition and vanity.

Jesus asked them what they wanted, and they replied that they wanted to sit at the side of Christ in all His glory. Those are important seats…the Best seats. We always wants to be seen in the best seats. It is our weakness – the desire for success.

38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

39 They said to Him, “We are able.”

How arrogant. They did not know or understand what they were asking. The cup that Christ was going to drink was the cup of sacrifice, as He was sacrificed to pay for our sins. At that time, they only wanted to be important and ahead of the other disciples. It is interesting to wonder if they ever realized what they had requested when they saw Christ on the cross.

Their request created discontent and strife amongst the disciples. It is not dissimilar to what we do in our own lives. Our selfishness can sometimes be so bad that we have steamrolled friends or family.

With grace, Jesus counseled that to become great, we should be servants. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Rather than worrying about our reputation, should we become more like Christ and be servants to others? In our homes, our work and our community?

If we do so, Jesus will define our reputation.


Thanks to Chris Rowe for putting together today’s The Powermove devotional.  He says he cribbed liberally from the sermon in his worship service today.