Because I’m a pastor’s wife, people just assume I have a “servant’s heart.” That I love to serve everyone. Um, not exactly.
Twenty-five years ago I was sitting in our church nursery watching the toddlers, including my own, ravage the toys and each other. Another mom, new to our church, was taking her turn that day too. Her husband had been in ministry, but was now back in the marketplace. Between refereeing fights and wiping noses she struck up a conversation.
“Where do you like to serve in the church? In children’s ministry?”
“Oh, no,” I replied. “I don’t enjoy working with kids. For starters, I don’t really know how to relate to them.” At that moment a small hoodlum darted between my legs, nearly tripping me.
“In women’s ministry then?”
“No way!” I exclaimed. “I hate women’s events, too! Too much high pitched laughter. Too much pink…”
At this point she looked puzzled. I had just eliminated two thirds of the people in the church with my sweeping negations. “Then where do you want to serve? With the men?!”
Hm. Obviously, I hadn’t thought about it that way. I guess I’m pretty selective about whom I serve.
Then again, it’s a good thing Jesus isn’t.
On the way to Jerusalem
Mark 10 begins Jesus’ final trip south to Jerusalem. It’s a trip he’s made many times from his home in Galilee — traveling by foot, accompanied by his disciples, thronged by crowds that followed as far as their stamina and life circumstances would let them. At first he tries to go through Samaria, but is rejected (Luke 9:51-53). Next he cuts east across the Jordan and heads south again. Finally, he crosses the river heading west, near Jericho.
How did he feel as he presses on to Jerusalem? I don’t know for certain, but I know how I feel when I’m heading into something I dread. Either I drag my feet, trying to think of an excuse along the way to let me out of it, or I speed up and try to get it over with.
Jesus did neither.
“He set his face to go to Jerusalem,” writes Luke. Above all, Jesus was determined that nothing would turn him aside from his primary mission of suffering, dying, and rising again, not even some surly Samaritans. Yet, surprisingly, he stopped–often–to teach, answer questions, bless children, and even heal. In other words, on the way to be our ransom, he still served.
Whom did he serve? All kinds of people. Our Savior was hungry to serve, even on the way to the cross.
Mark 10 contains the second theme verse for our study. The King who came to announce the kingdom (Mark 1:38) is also the Servant, on his way to his final act of service, laying down his life for us all.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
Day 1: Context — Reread Mark 9:33-50 and read Mark 10:1.
- Mark 10:1 says, “He left there…” Where is “there”?
- What is significant about Capernaum? What did it mean for him to leave there on this trip?
- Who was he last talking to? This time, what were the topics?
- What seems to be on Jesus’ mind as he sets his face to go to Jerusalem?
Day 2: Observation — Read Mark 10 as 5 scenes with opportunities to serve.
- First, name the people Jesus served in each scene.
- Second, what titles or names did people call him?
- Third, what did people ask him to do for them?
- Describe how Jesus served them. What did he say or do?
- Finally, what amazes you about Jesus in this chapter?
Day 3: Meaning — Read Mark 10 as a living sermon on servant hood for the disciples.
- What was their reaction to each person or group Jesus served?
- How did Jesus correct them?
- What evidence do you see in the chapter that they changed or didn’t change?
- How does his third foretelling of his death compare to the other two times? (Mark 8:31-33; 9:30-32; 10:32-34) What is the same? What is different?
Day 4: Application — Read Mark 10 as a personal word to you from your Savior.
- Who are you tempted to despise in this chapter? Worship the One who was despised, but despised no one!
- Who do you have trouble serving in your life? Jesus’ perfect record of serving is yours today by faith. Today, ask him for the love and power you need to serve that difficult one.
- On the way to the cross, Jesus has time for children, rich young rulers, bumbling disciples, and a blind man. He has time for you today. Draw near to him. His ear is tuned to your cry.
I’m so glad we have a Savior who serves all types of people. Even those who are reluctant servants like me.