Buried in Your Own Navel

“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”   Mark 10: 35

This is part of the gospel lesson for today. Jesus had just told the Twelve that they were going to Jerusalem where He would be betrayed, put to death, and rise on the third day. Then, out of nowhere, James and John ask the Son of God, the Word through Whom everything was created, to do their bidding!

There is no segue. There is no transition. Jesus tells the Twelve He’ll rise on the third day and the first thing out of anyone’s mouth is like something out of a TV commercial.

“Yeah, Jesus, whatever. The only question that should be on your mind right now is ‘What can You do for me?’”

They apparently didn’t hear a word Jesus said.

Another TV moment that comes to mind is from The Big Bang Theory. The guys are playing one of their video games when Penny opens the door accompanied by several of her gorgeous friends. She announces that she and her friends are there to see if they are interested in an evening of sex with them.

No response. The guys just keep playing.

“See? I told you so!” Penny closes the door and they leave. Leonard looks up and asks, “Did you guys hear something just now?”

Yeah, James and John are THAT clueless in this moment. They missed the whole betrayal, handed over to the Gentiles, and murdered thing. “Rising from the Dead” didn’t even get their attention.

Just like the examples from TV land above, they were so far into their own navel, they didn’t have a clue as to what was happening around them.

We shouldn’t be too hard on them, though. Where are we when God talks to us? Some of us are listening to false teachers blathering their false gospel of prosperity, i.e. Joel Osteen. If only you’ll believe enough, your life will be great! Others of us are caught up in the concerns and needs of this life.

And, yes, we might truly be in need, but where should we be looking for help? Not in self-pity and worry. Like James and John, did we not hear the Good News, the real Gospel? Jesus died for us and rose on the third day. How did we miss that?

We were buried in our own navel. Too far in to see the light of day. So how do we get out?

Look outside yourself. Look to your fellow man and how you might be God’s instrument in his or her life. That’s the answer Jesus preached when He told them that they needed to become servants to be truly great. That’s the lesson He demonstrated when He washed their feet.

When we are worried and caught up in even the most pressing of troubles, we need to climb out of our own navels of self-pity and doubt. Talk to God. See what’s going on around you and how you can be part of the world you are in instead of being your own world alone.

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