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March 9th: Attitude

Today Taryn Flake gets to share another devotional with us. I hope you enjoy it. I couldn't read it without wanting to say,"have an attitude of gratitude." Have a great day!



Scripture: Mark 10:32-52

 

Attitude 

How is your attitude lately? Being a mother to a nearly teenage daughter, I get to hear a lot of bad attitudes about me, school, her sister, frenemies, etc. I am quick to offer advice on how to “look on the bright side of things” because I can step back from her situations and see the big picture. However, I am sure the next time you see my mother or my husband, you can ask them about my own attitude and there will be plenty of stories for them to offer. I complained plenty going through school, and I complain plenty nowadays, even though I rarely have much to be thankless over. I wonder if there is any correlation between my attitude and my daughter’s??

 

In today’s passage, the disciples have an attitude problem as well. They are “indignant with James and John” (v. 41).  “Indignant” means being angered or annoyed at perceived unfair treatment. When I think of the word “indignant,” I think of children arguing, shouting “That’s not fair!” over trivial (or perceived trivial) issues. When one child receives an eighth M&M to the other’s seven, as a parent you will be sure to hear about it. Amidst all of Jesus’ teachings about humility, James and John are requesting to be the greatest. In Matthew 20, it’s James’ and John’s mother who asks for them to be seated on Jesus’ right and left. It feels like James and John are calling “shotgun” for eternity. My Bible also adds that, “The rest of the Twelve are angry…perhaps indication that they were also hoping for such rewards.”

 

We are able to take a step back and see from far away that the disciples’ reactions and James’ and John’s requests are not in line with Jesus’ teachings:

 

●      “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life will for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:35

●      “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

●      “But many who are first will be last and the last first.” Mark 10:31

●      “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45

●      “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14

 

            Do these sound like verses of people struggling to get ahead in the world? Do these verses embody our lives? our family? our church? our leaders? our politicians?

 

            A contemporary solution to complaining and a bad attitude is to search for gratitude instead. Reframing the statement, “I have so much laundry to do today.” into “I’m grateful for a family who I can take care of by doing their laundry.” or “I’m grateful that I have a washer and dryer in my home.” can change our attitude about daily tasks, as well as the perspective of our lives. A Christian solution would be to offer a prayer of thanksgiving instead of a statement of complaint. “Thank you for a family who I can take care of by doing their laundry.” So today, let us not act like little children fighting to get ahead in life. Let us strive to be more like Jesus taught us to be—servants to others. And let us do it with good attitudes and prayers of thanksgiving.

 

Questions:

  1. How is your attitude today? How is your attitude usually?

  2. How often do you offer prayers for thanksgiving versus complaints or prayer requests to God?

  3. What advice would you give yourself five years from now? How can you take that advice today?

 

Prayer:

Dear God, Forgive me for when I am ungrateful in my life. I thank You today for these blessings (name a couple here). Please allow me to go through my life with a positive attitude and help me see things through Your eyes. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

A few more verses on this subject (which is well-researched out of necessity for myself):

●      “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23 (NIV 1984)

●      “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV 1984)

●      “Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV 1984)

 

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