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Text Sermons : J.R. Miller : August 20. Desire for Place and Power

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"They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest." Mark 9:33-34

Something is wrong when we have done that through the day — which we are ashamed to tell Christ about when we come in the evening and bow at His feet — or when we have said that which we are not willing to repeat to Him in our prayers, when we come to talk face to face with Him. Some day we shall be asked what we said and did, as we came along through life; let us be careful to say or do nothing which we shall be ashamed to confess before our Lord and the angels and all the universe.

The disciples' ideas of position and rank were altogether earthly. They wrangled for places in the kingdom which Christ was going to set up, very much as a company of modern politicians wrangle over spoils of office. Peter thought he ought to be prime minister, for he was the best speaker. Judas thought he would certainly be secretary of the treasury, which would give him a prominent place. John was Christ's favorite, and felt sure he would be the greatest. Andrew had been first called, and claimed that this fact ought to give him the precedence. So they bickered.

So Christians sometimes do today. They want official places in the Church — want to be elders, deacons, or trustees; or want positions in the Sunday school, as superintendents, teachers, secretaries, or librarians; or want to be presidents or vice-presidents, or something else of missionary societies, or of some other organizations; or want to be pastors of popular city churches. It is the same old evil spirit — the idea that the way to be a great Christian — is to be prominent in some official position, to have honor and power among men. It is a shame to see such scrambling in the Church of Christ — but sometimes we see it; perhaps we sometimes scramble ourselves.

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