Who gets the most recognition? Who attains the place of honor? For three weeks Jesus has been telling the disciples he is going to die and they just don't get it still. Can we sit at your right and left hand? Places of power and honor. Everyone else is mad at Jame and John for asking this. Jesus tells them they don't get it.
The epistle tells us more. It is in the weakest, in sacrifice, in submission that Jesus becomes Christ. It is not in asserting his power it is in giving it up. Mark tells us this by saying we must be servants and the servant of all in order to be first. Thought of last.
The closest encounters with God come with these experiences. The former presiding bishop Frank Griswold at the 2005 episcopal youth event shared a story about being on retreat at a monastery and when he went out to serve at the homeless shelter where he found God. Not at the monastery in contemplative silence, but in serving others.
A priest at a spring youth event shared his experience of being in the process for holy orders and encountering a homeless man in the subway. This man would ask for money every single day. One day when he gave some change, all he had, there was a change within the priest. God became present in this man he encountered everyday.
There is a reason why we celebrate bread for the world Sunday this morning. Serving others is another part of stewardship. It is also another part of serving others. Whether it is in recycling cardboard, picking up food at the food bank, filling out intake cards, filling bags with food, or taking bags out for people everyone is serving another person. When we become servants we start to think of others more than ourselves. We are starting to understand what it means to surrender a portion of our day, some time, working with others, and surrendering ourselves. This is the work of the kingdom, the ways we encounter God, and the ways we learn it is not in being the most important, but in service that we walk with God.