Many believers are willing to serve the Lord. And it is a good thing to be willing to serve the Lord. But, for many, that desire is motivated by the same thing that motivated James and John when they said to Jesus: “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory” (verse 35). In the book of Matthew, it is their mother who approached Jesus with the same request (Matthew 20:20-21). My brother, my sister, wanting or being willing to serve is not enough to become a servant of the Most High. Jesus answered them and we should understand what serving others, in the eyes of God, is: “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” (verse 38). As you read further, you see that both were indeed determined: “we can” (verse 39), thus “Jesus said to them, ‘You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared'” (verses 39-40).
My friend, James died as a martyr (Acts 12:2) and John was forced to run for his life and live in exile (Revelation 1:9). Remember that they are the ones who asked the Lord to serve Him, just like you may be asking the Lord to use you now. Of course, the Lord is with those who serve Him. Nevertheless, this should teach us a lesson: it is very easy to say we will endure anything for Christ, and yet most of us complain about the most minor problems that may come our way daily. How can you bear the suffering that comes with serving Christ when you are unable to bear the little irritations that sometimes come with serving others? There are people who want to serve God, but they can’t take criticism; some are willing to serve God but unwilling to give up their lives and stick to it (let me remind you that all the disciples of Christ abandoned either their jobs or their families, etc…) to follow Him, which means they trusted in Him to provide for themselves and for the families they had abandoned.
Yes, serving Christ is serving others. Therefore, it is impossible to become a servant of God without being around the others and exhorting one another daily (Hebrews 3:13), without having compassion or bearing the burdens of others (Galatians 6:2), without being devoted to others (Romans 12:10), without laying down our lives for others (John 15:13)… All we see in this short passage is that Jesus indeed wants us to serve Him, but do not be negligent in whatever you do for Him, for the Bible says: “A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work!” (Jeremiah 48:10). My friend, you don’t start serving the Lord solely on the basis of a desire or because it sounds good to say you are a minister/servant of God. It is above all a calling of God, or it is just a wrong yoke motivated by wrong motives… God equips those He calls for service (Hebrews 13:21). All good university degrees will never make anyone a servant of God. It is our communion with the saints, our obedience to the Word and our commitment to serve the others that show we really are serving God. Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.