Read Mark 10:32-45
… And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.
It’s amazing that Jesus was just telling his disciples about how he was going to be betrayed, ridiculed and killed. And what was their response? Can we have the top two positions in the kingdom? They didn’t just want to be in his cabinet – they wanted to be in his position as well. They did not ask, “What can we do to make your life easier while you are here”? Instead, they asked Jesus what he could give them before he gets himself killed.
Jesus was constantly trying to show his disciples that the world’s idea of success is not just to be free from the oppression of others, but to also have rule/power over others See Frantz Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth”. But God’s way of success is to serve and minister to others. For this is exactly why Jesus came to earth: to give up his life for others.
… Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Jesus came to serve and to save. If our motives are anything other than that, we are out of the will of God and we can actually become a hindrance instead of help to the Kingdom of God. If our agenda and primary (not secondary) motive is anything other than to reconcile man to God, we are merely religious people who are no different than those who practice good works while rejecting Jesus as Lord and the Word of God as the truth.