Monday Discipleship Challenge #4: Missing the Forest for the Trees

Mark 10:35–37
(read Mark 10:35–45 for the entire story)

And James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to him, saying to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And they said to him, “Grant that we may sit in your glory, one on your right, and one on your left.”

It’s easy to criticize the disciples. James and John make this request right after Jesus tells them of his upcoming suffering and death.

Knowing the larger salvation story, we are astounded by their blindness to the absurdity and insensitivity of this request.

This isn’t the only instance of their missing the larger story. It happens again and again and again.

Mark, though, is probably not writing down these encounters so that future generations can criticize the disciples.

He is probably writing down these encounters because we all have a tendency to miss the larger story when we’re trying to navigate our smaller, daily stories.

How often do our problems seems larger while they are happening that they do upon reflection after the fact?

How often are we certain that our boss is angry, our spouse is disappointed, or a friend is ignoring us only to realize at another time that their words and actions had nothing to do with us?

How often does it feel like God is silent, absent, or just too busy addressing famine and genocide in other parts of the world to pay attention to us?

Sometimes while navigating a difficult trail, we are so focused on keeping our footing that we miss that we are conquering a mountain.

In what ways might you and I be similar to James and John?

How might getting some perspective help you think about one of your challenges differently? 

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