On one occasion, the wife of Zebedee, with her two sons James and John in tow, approached Jesus with a rather audacious question (Mark 10:35-45). She asked Jesus if, when his kingdom came, could her sons be seated one on each side. When the other disciples heard what was going on they became highly indignant. And rightly so. So how did Jesus use this occasion? That is the question. The text goes on to say that he “called them all together” (vs. 42) and taught them a very important lesson. Ruling over others and vaunting one‘s authority is the way this world works but not the way in God’s kingdom. In the spiritual kingdom if you want to be a leader then serve the other person, don’t insist on being served. Then he used himself as an example: the Son of Man came to serve, not to be served — and that would ultimately involve death on a cross.
What strikes me here is that Jesus recognized and took advantage of the right moment. The two disciples and their mother had created a situation that was ripe for teaching a particular lesson that needed to be learned. The two disciples were exposed by their inappropriate request for power, the other disciples displayed their disgust, and Jesus did what the well-known Latin saying (slightly adjusted) suggests, Carpe momentum: he seized the moment, that passing moment so highly suitable for learning. In Jesus, In His Own Words, after recording the reaction of the other ten, I translate, “So I called them all together and said . . . ). The moment for calling them together had come and the master teacher did not let it slip by.
I am sure that those responsible for the growth of others understand that certain instructions are best shared only when “the moment” has arrived. Since all instruction is based on the necessary assumption that there are things you don’t know but need to, informing the other needs to be carried out in a non-judgmental manner. The parent responsible for the spiritual nurture of the child is more effective if they choose the “right moment” to help a child understand some important lesson about growing up. The believer concerned about the spiritual welfare of a friend is more effective if he waits for the “right moment” — the moment that God has in mind for the believer to share the need for spiritual rebirth.
The truth is that God would have us work according to his schedule and those right moments often come unexpectedly. So stay sensitive to the One who has prepared the heart of the other and, being a gentleman, doesn’t shout out his orders.