The Uncenter of Ambition - Leadership Principles

A Sermon on Leadership


Mark 10:35-45

1. The Ambition Contrived

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

36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

37 They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.”

Psalm 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

2. The Ambition ­­­­­­­­­Clarified

38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

Mark 14:36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!

39 They said to Him, “We are able.”

And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.

40 But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

3. The Ambition Critiqued

41 Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.

42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.

43 But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;

44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.

Kingdom of the world: lording; exercise authority.

Kingdom of Heaven: service and sacrifice

Washington Post, April 2013, Edward Hess, professor of business administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business


45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

a. Appointed by God

John 5:19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

b. For the Many

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Luke 19:10: For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

c. Service: in his life

‘did not come to be served, but to serve’

“When your country and mine shall get together on the teachings laid down by Christ in this Sermon on the Mount, we shall have solved the problems not only of our countries but those of the whole world.” - M. K. Gandhi

d. Sacrifice: through his death

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.


Photo by Armand Khoury on Unsplash

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