Blessed… And “THAT” Parent Asked…

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus along with her sons. Bowing before him, she asked a favor of him. “What do you want?” he asked. She responded, “Say that these two sons of mine will sit, one on your right hand and one on your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “You don’t know what you’re asking! Can you drink from the cup that I’m about to drink from?” They said to him, “We can.” He said to them, “You will drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left hand isn’t mine to give. It belongs to those for whom my Father prepared it.” Now when the other ten disciples heard about this, they became angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that those who rule the Gentiles show off their authority over them and their high-ranking officials order them around. But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant. Whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave—just as the Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people” (Matthew 20:20-28, Common English Bible).

When my oldest son Wayne was in high school he was a basketball player. He ended up on the bench and rarely played. It was a bit frustrating because the season before Wayne had been a bench player but he played all the time. He was one of the first in the game off the bench. The next season he rarely played.

I spoke with the coach before a game one night. He made an assumption that really wasn’t correct. I just wanted to ask him what parts of Wayne’s game he needed to improve to be able to get some playing time. I wasn’t blaming the coach. I was not at all trying to be “THAT” parent. “THAT” parent was exactly what the coach assumed I was trying to be. The meeting didn’t go well. I didn’t make that mistake again. I fear I made things even worse for Wayne. Should you read this son, I am sorry.

My mind went back to that night with the coach when I read the lesson for today. I can’t help but wonder of the mother of the sons of Zebedee was trying to be “THAT” parent. We all want what is best for our kids. The now adult Wayne works for a company repairing electronics. I would love to see him become a manager with that or another company (though I have no intention of going and talking with his bosses). Christopher, my younger son is a teacher and coach in northeast Texas. His football teams have been to the playoffs several times. I think it would be so great for him to be a head coach or a principal one day (I also have no intention of inserting myself into his situation either).

I feel certain that James and John’s mother was quite proud. They were in Jesus’ inner circle of disciples. They were learning the true meaning of being a servant. Still, it would seem that they still, as yet, did not understand. It also seems quite evident that the other ten didn’t get it either. Further, if the twelve didn’t get it, we shouldn’t be too hard on James and John’s mother. She wasn’t there all the time. If the twelve didn’t get it, neither did she.

She wanted the same thing most any parent wants for their child, the best life has to offer. She knew they would never be number one, that was Jesus’ spot. But she wanted to see them as Jesus’ top level managers. Though she probably didn’t understand exactly what that meant, who can blame her for seeking the best for her boys. With the events that were about to unfold, I can’t help but believe the wife of Zebedee might have rethought her request.

I still want the best for my boys, for their wives and for my grandkids. If I thought there were someway to insert myself to truly help, I would consider it. But, I realize I don’t want to be “THAT” parent again. And, for now, I realize there isn’t anything I can do. The truth probably is, I have already done everything I can for my boys except for one thing. I can pray. And, I know I can and I always want to be, “THAT” parent, a praying parent.

How have you inserted yourself for those you love?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thanksgiving,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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