Helicopter parents are not a new phenomenon. Not sure if you are a helicopter parent? Check out this article; but be warned, it may hurt.
Even back in Jesus’ day we find a helicopter parent. Matthew documents this well for us:
20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus along with her sons. Bowing before him, she asked a favor of him.
Hey, I believe that is number three on the list from the helicopter parenting article referenced above. The mother of Zebedee’s sons is stepping in, lobbying for them. Of course, Jesus almost has the response you would expect of a parent when they know all too well that their child wants something. She might as well have said, “Hi, Jesus, you are looking well today. You know how much I love you, right.”
21 “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.”22 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.”
It seems like Jesus responds with his best impersonation of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men: “You can’t handle the truth. ” Sort of scary how Nicholson talks about dying, and well, so does Jesus. If you do not know the movie reference, you do not have to go look for it. I am sure you will understand where this is going just the same.
23 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.”24 Now when the other ten disciples heard about this, they became angry with the two brothers. 25 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. 26 But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant. 27 Whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave— 28 just as the Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.”
The mother and sons were trying to “get in the way.” Even here, the disciples who show up angry find their emotions are getting in the way. Jesus corrects them. He tells them if you are going to follow me, you are going to have to get out of the way (my paraphrase). You are going to have to lay your feelings aside at times. You are going to have to make it less about you and more about me. You are going to have to trust me, even when it does not make sense. You are going to have to look for more opportunities to serve, than to be served.
Fortunately for us, the disciples sought to live this out after Jesus’ death. They chose to follow, even when it meant being imprisoned. They chose to follow even when it meant being persecuted. The Apostle Paul describes how he suffered, was beaten, and left for dead. They did not do these things with a “me first attitude.” They were only able to follow when they “got out of the way” and focused solely on Jesus.
Because they chose to do these things, the Gospel continued to spread. Because they got out of the way the message of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus had witnesses throughout the land and ultimately throughout the world.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)