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Servant Problems

For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve
Mark 10:35-45 or 10:42-45

Sermon Topic Servanthood

Sermon Week Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 10:45


To be alive is to face risk. To be alive is to risk death, injury, sickness, disease, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, rejection, loneliness, betrayal. And because these are risks we must run necessarily, by virtue of our being alive, they subject us to the greatest risk of all--the risk of our spiritual destruction, which is despair.

We spend a goodly portion of our lives struggling to achieve some measure of security against these and other risks. We build nest-eggs to secure ourselves against the risk of poverty. We follow fashions to secure ourselves against the risk of embarrassment over our personal appearance. We buy insurance to secure ourselves against the financial risks of sickness and disease. We cling to certain persons to secure ourselves against the risk of loneliness. We keep others at arm's length to secure ourselves against the risk of rejection. We keep our own counsel to secure ourselves against the risk of ridicule. We get regular medical checkups and see our dentists twice a year. We check our brakes and fasten our seat-belts, put our money in banks and double-lock our doors. We take our vitamins and do our exercises. But try as we may, there is no evading the reality that to be alive is to face risks. Troubles will come to plague us. Sufferings will come to burden us. And death ultimately will overtake us.

At the University of Oklahoma, for many years a project was underway to teach a fifteen-year-old female chimpanzee named Washoe to communicate by combining sign language with simple recognition. Over the years, Washoe learned one hundred and forty signs. Finally, the project directors decided that the chimpanzee was ready to "conceptualize." This meant that instead of merely imitating some human words, Washoe would express thoughts of her own. Remember, Washoe was a pampered animal in the University's laboratory. She was well-fed, physically comfortable, safe from harm. She had security. And yet, when she finally was able, on her own, to put words together into a single phrase, these were the first three: LET ME OUT! And she said them repeatedly! Over-and-over [...]

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