When my sister and I were kids, Mum took each of us aside and asked, “Which of you is my favourite?”

We each replied, “The other one.”

Mum took this as a success in her parenting style. She hadn’t played favourites.

The beauty of God’s love is that if we were asked this question, we would all answer, “I am.”

And we would all be right.

We would all be right.

All of us. 

And this also brings us to a problem. 

How easy it would be for us to slip into a “because I’m God’s favourite” mentality. Such a thought process would be dangerous.

Such a process could make excuses for itself, could say “because I’m God’s favourite, I can do whatever I want to this other person.” Or, “because I’m God’s favourite, I automatically have the corner on being right in the way that I think or act or believe in Christ.”

This mentality takes the focus off of God and onto ourselves. And it is sinful.

That’s the trap that the disciples fell into.

Think about the way that John, the son of Zebedee, used to refer to himself: “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. This underlines that special place that he felt he occupied in Jesus’ heart, just as we all occupy a special place.

But do you remember what happened as he followed this truth to a conclusion twisted by sin?

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

“We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.

(Mark 10:35-41)

This disciple whom Jesus loved wound up approaching Jesus and asking for special treatment in the kingdom of God. He felt entitled to it because he was Jesus’ favourite.

He didn’t realize that everyone else knew that they were His favourites, too.

So, what’s the solution? How can we adopt humble hearts that don’t become presumptive at the wondrous truth of God’s special love, accessible and applied to all His children?

We can find the corrective, too, in this story:

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

(Mark 10:42-45)

Only when we eschew lofty positions and embrace our servanthood are we released from these sinful thought patterns. 

When we finally embrace our true identities, not just as children of God but as children of His Servant, we are freed to be humble, to be teachable, to be people holy and pleasing to God, in our spiritual service of worship. [1]


[1] Taken from Romans 12:1, NASB, my paraphrase.

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