Matthew 20:20–28 ‘Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favour of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”’ (vv20–21)

Asking the appropriate question is key. I wonder how James’ mother felt after this one. Questions give a real insight into how we think. James and John, and their mum, obviously missed ‘Discipleship 101’ (Matt. 16:24–26). 

We’re invited deliberately to give up our preferences by putting God and His Kingdom first in every decision and action. Stressful because we can’t see the immediate upside, but that’s the point; the benefit is a carefully laid plan where everyone wins. Such kingdom-led decision-making means I shall wobble as I wonder if I’m simply the fool (1 Cor. 4:10). 

Only as I refocus on Christ and God’s call do I find both confidence and energy to continue on my way. This is many years of learning, but there’s no going back once learnt.

Pleasing God is not that we make ourselves miserable, only those who fail to find the point of serving God and with it the reality of discipleship is unfortunate. We all have a variety of aspirations and God does not invite us to embrace a miserable life. He accepts we can only live to the degree of love and trust that we encounter and build on our life path.

That building always demands that we push beyond where we feel comfortable. Faith is a muscle and we always know when we are exercising it. Growth only happens when we dare to push beyond what we know and understand. Failure to do so leads to spiritual stagnation.


2 Chron. 1:11–13; Ps. 40:1–8; John 3:22–36; Phil. 3:7–14


What are your questions for God? Take some time to frame them so that you are seeking a kingdom dividend.


‘Lord, teach me how I might live as the willing servant of all, Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.