Family feud

A reflection from Rich Dixon.

It was a dispute among good friends.

We’ve seen a few of those lately, maybe more than usual. Pandemic. Economic uncertainty. Isolation. Working from home, or not working at all. And, of course, there’s always politics.

Folks are on edge, and the tension leads to division and quarreling among friends and family members. Stress does that.

I’m guessing it was a stressful time for Jesus’ friends. He told stories they didn’t completely understand, and He spoke about His impending death. So we shouldn’t be shocked when James and John requested a special favor.

They just wanted a little security, some assurance that their status as insiders would carry over into this new kingdom Jesus kept describing. And their friends got mad.

Maybe they were simply jealous. Maybe they wondered why they didn’t think of it first. We only know there was a dispute among these good friends. But rather than scolding or rebuking, Jesus called them together.

Don’t discount that. In the midst of their disagreement, He wanted them to come together and re-focus on a bigger principle.

Jesus briefly described how the world works. Power. Control. Force. Fear. Coercion. And then He uses four little words.

Not so with you.

With these four words He tells His followers they’re supposed to operate differently. He says, in essence, you know how the world measures things like success, authority, influence, and leadership?

Not so with you.

How many followers. Number of books sold. Big subscriber list.

Lots of riders. More dollars raised for the kids. Tons of volunteers.

Winning the argument. Being right.

The list goes on and on. All the ways we elevate ourselves and create the illusion of security. All the ways we divide ourselves into winners and losers.

All the disagreements and family feuds.

Not so with you.