For the next few months, this blog will occasionally look at the concept of choice. It is true that “Life is a sum of all your choices.” But do we even realize that every response involves a choice, that we always have a choice?
Matthew 20: 20-28 tells the story of two of Jesus’ disciples who are eager to be promoted in the discipleship business. They are not shy about angling for authority or manipulating to share the glory. When he questions them, they assure Jesus that they are ready and able to move up in the ranks. The story hits close to home because each of us is fighting our own battle of pride. We may not be as blatant as these two disciples, but many of us are eager to move up the ladder of employment, of social standing, church politics, even family ranking.
Jesus tells them (and us) that the struggle to climb up above others, sometimes standing on the their shoulders to do so, is normal in the world but not in his kingdom. As Kayla McClurg puts it, Jesus says:
“Do you hear what I am saying? I did not call you into this band of wandering disciples to be normal. I called you to be a new prototype. You are going to rise above the crowd, by stooping down to the lowest positions. To stand out among others, you will quietly withdraw from places of honor. To be the most important, you will serve behind the scenes. You keep getting bound up in the soul-deadening climb toward “greatness.” I am here to set you free. My life, in exchange for yours. Lower yourself and join me” (From Season and Scripture: Mark, Ordinary Time B).
Here is a choice Jesus offers each of his followers: “Are you willing to lower yourself and follow me?” Let’s watch for opportunities to choose to take a back seat, to keep silent, to serve anonymously, to befriend without regard for status, to value simplicity in lifestyle as well as in relationships, and to love without condition.