James 3.13 to 4.3, 7-8a
Who is the most important person in this congregation? I’ll give you a few seconds to think about it, it’s not that hard… Who is most important? It’s me, of course! I’m the most important person here. I have a theological degree and I’m a doctor in two different ways. Where would you be if I weren’t here? I teach, I preach, I marry and bury and baptise people. What would you do without me?
I do hope you can hear that I’ve got my tongue firmly in my cheek. I hope you realise that if I actually believed what I’ve just said, then I’d probably have a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock.
But you know, if I were serious, I wouldn’t be the first. The disciples were dead set serious about it on the road with Jesus, when
on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.
Sounds petty, doesn’t it?
I’m the greatest.
Are not, I am.
Am too! Etc.
Perhaps we shouldn’t blame them, perhaps we should just say it’s human nature. We also jockey for position; we compare our treatment with how we think others are treated; we want ‘the leader’ to notice us. Isn’t that the point that James makes in his little book of Wisdom?
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?…you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts.
We see others as rivals and threats to us. So we try to make things go our way. But honestly, I can’t help but imagine the disciples acting really childishly, as if they’re saying Pick me, Jesus! Pick me!
You can imagine the arguments. Peter says he should be most important because he’s a gun fisherman; James and John remind him that their dad’s richer than his dad and they know how to run a business. Matthew says if they want someone who can run a business, he used to be a tax collector. They all have a story to tell, and a reason to be head of the pack, top of the pile, cock of the walk. They each have something to prove—and something to hide. Continue reading