«Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?’ » (Mark 9:33).
My sister and I used to quarrel a lot when we were small, especial when we were traveling. The back seat of the car was divided into “my side” and “your side,” to keep us from touching. And if one of us reached over and invaded the other’s space, the war was on! Once we got home after a long trip where we had worn our parents out with our continual bickering. When they sat us down to talk to us about our behavior, our quarrel seemed quite foolish, now that we had all the room we wanted.
The disciples often acted like annoying, bickering children. Jesus was trying to help them understand about His coming sacrifice, but they argued about who would have the highest positions in a kingdom that they didn’t understand. They didn’t realize they wouldn’t even be there if they kept up with that attitude.
«Had Lucifer really desired to be like the Most High, he would never have deserted his appointed place in heaven; for the spirit of the Most High is manifested in unselfish ministry. Lucifer desired God ‘s power, but not His character. He sought for himself the highest place, and every being who is actuated by his spirit will do the same» (The Desire of Ages, ch. 48, p. 435).
Discord, envy, and a thirst for power are the characteristics of a fallen kingdom, not of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus had come to serve, to humble Himself to the maximum, and those who were to hold positions in heaven should share those same characteristics.
How foolish their attitude must have seemed to them once they understood the plan of salvation and the role they were to play in it. We can see how they took care to change their ways once they understood what the «journey» was all about! Jesus still had a lot to teach them. And He has a lot to teach us today, too.
Are we fighting over a few inches of car seat when God wants us to serve for miles around us? We can seek to gain power in our work, in our relationship, and even (and this happens often) within the church. But when we act that way are we wanting God ‘s power, and not His character?
Today, let’s examine our own conscience and identify the areas of our life in which we are «disputing along the road. May we find the courage to occupy the «highest» position of service to those around us, and may we be more like Jesus.