“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” He asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in Your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at My right or left is not for Me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” This is what Jesus said in the Bible in the book of Mark chapter 10 verses 35 to 40 written from New International Bible version (Mark 10: 35-40 NIV).
The same story was also written in the book of Matthew chapter 20 verses 20 to 23 from New Kings James Bible version, it says, “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”
Now, let’s have patience and analyze things.
What is the first thing you will do when a friend, lets a colleague tells you just now they have announced in the news tomorrow is going to rain a lot the whole day? And the answer is you will start thinking about it.
What is the second thing you will do as you keep thinking about it? The answer is, you will decide to believe or not to believe what your colleague has told you.
What is the third thing you will do let’s say you believed what your colleague has told you? Perhaps you will find a way to know if you have an umbrella or a rain jacket already on hand, or at home, and if not, you will make a decision to go and buy it.
Then after work and on your way home, you remember and start thinking about what your colleague said about the rain tomorrow, so you decide to pass by the mall to buy the umbrella because somehow you believe it is going to rain tomorrow. Basically you decided to take precaution, by preparing ahead of time before it rains.
The next morning you wake up, you take your umbrella with you though it hasn’t started raining yet. But the minute you arrived at the parking lot or metro station it starts to rain. You have a couple of blocks to walk to get to your office main door, and confidently you take your umbrella from your laptop bag or hand bag, and cover yourself to protect yourself from getting wet.
So let’s summarize what we have found out so far.
From our example; thinking about it, was the first thing you did after your colleague said it was going to rain a lot tomorrow. The second thing you believed it was going to rain. The third thing is you took action and prepared yourself.
What would have happened if you didn’t believe your colleague or cared less whether tomorrow it was going to rain or not, or said I will figure it out when it rains? You wouldn’t care to see if you have an umbrella or not, nor care to prepare to take precaution. And say, ‘if it rains tomorrow, who cares if I will get wet?’
James and John, the sons of Zebedee thought of sitting at Jesus’ right and left, but guess what? Jesus somehow told them to think is not enough; you have to be prepared for it in order to qualify for it. In fact in the book of Matthew, and please read c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y what it says; “but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”
There is this famous Bible scripture called ASK that is written in Matthew 7:7 and Luke 11:9 that says; “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” And since they asked for it, Jesus told them, “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at My right or left is not for Me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” You have to be willing and ready to take the challenges that come with what you have asked for.
I will give you another example why it is important to prepare.
There is a certain person who thought about becoming wealthy. She thought about it several times but didn’t do anything about it to make it happen. She had several opportunities to make her desires come true but she didn’t take an action towards it, may be because she didn’t believe she could do it. Then one day an idea came, and thought this is her opportunity to make her desires come true and get rich quick. She decided to buy lots of lottery tickets since she believed to be a very lucky person, and certainly believed she was going to win. After several times of trying her good luck, eventually she won a thousand dollars-closer to a million dollars lottery. She was so happy she was somehow wealthy now. Since she was not prepared of how she was going to use her money and because of her lack of financial knowledge and unwise financial decisions, after a year she lost everything, and not clearly knowing exactly how she used her money; she has no savings, no assets, basically back at zero.
Now imagine if the story was reversed. And let’s say this person prepared to receiving wealth, and when she won that lottery money she already had strategies and plans of how she was going to use that money and multiply it to become wealthier to the point where she is be able to help other people, provide jobs, and do wonderful things for her family and society.
Jesus said several times in the Bible, according to your faith it will be done to you. You can read Matthew chapter 8 verse 13 (Matthew 8:13) or Matthew chapter 9 verse 29 (Matthew 9:29) for reference.
He also said in the book of Mark chapter 11 verse 24 (Mark 11:24) and I quote from New International Bible version: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
I truly believe there is a power in believing, because once you believe it will come to you like a magnet. President Barack Obama didn’t become the President of United States just by thinking about it, though that was the first required step of him becoming what he believed about himself.
Be prepared for opportunities, because once it knocks and you are not ready, you will lose it, or not utilize it to the maximum.
Being prepared is about being the right person, at the right place, at the right time. To the point where it’s not really that you have been lucky, you just happened to be the right person because you have been prepared for this.
Some people have been prepared for years to become who they are today. Certainly, President Barack Obama didn’t prepare for two years to become the President of United States. Beyonce Knowles started singing at a very young age, and her journey of success started way back when she was competing in local talent shows and winning many of those events.
Once you believe, you have got to put action to it. Faith demands, and requires action to accomplish what you believe. This is a preparation part. This action part will determine whether you are ready of what you believe. This is the part that after a while it will tell if you have become what you believe you should be. This is the part where behind the scene is taking place when other people see only the finish work. This is the part where you overcome the challenges that come with what you have to become. My friend, there is no shortcut to greatness. There are things you can’t achieve in life without commitment, and a series of determination and preparation. You become what you prepared for.
I like the way Jim Rohn put it. One of his famous quotes says, “Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.” In other words, “Opportunities and success are not something you go after necessarily but something you attract by becoming an attractive person.”
During job interviews, most of the time they will select only the resumes of the people who appeared to be most qualified for the position, or in Jim Rohn language, they will pick only those attractive resumes that are appealing to fit the requirements needed for the job position that was advertised. And when those people come to the interview, the most appealing will be hired.
Now, don’t start to worry and say, ” Oh, I am far behind. I don’t think I can catch up. Oh, I have got a lot to do. May be it’s late for me to make things right.” Like I have mentioned before, let God be the judge of whether its too late or not. And remember, even the champions and the best in their careers struggled to be where they are now. Be encouraged from Michael Jordan quote that says, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”