Friday, January 7, 2011

Putting Squirrel in His Place ~ Be Humble

There's a squirrel that keeps coming to our BIRD feeder. He positions himself so no one else fits in, but so all can see his dominance. I do love the birds, but something in me loves opening the door to let my (harmless) Brittany out to do some barking and put the squirrel in his place. He needs to be humbled.

To Be Humble goes against everything in our world. A new year brings programs and challenges and products to feed us and help us get more attention, success, satisfaction ... more for us. Today's world is all about getting ahead and getting noticed. No one is about growing in humility.  No one but Jesus.

This drive to take center stage isn't new. Look at a few of the people in Luke who struggled with pride (opposite of humility):

  • wedding guests choosing the best seats and places of honor (Luke 14:7-11)
  • a pharisee who picked center stage for his place of prayer, for all to hear him (Luke 18:9-17)
  • the disciples at the Last Supper, arguing who is greatest and will be in the Kingdom (Luke 22:24-27)
Jesus said the wedding guests shouldn't exalt themselves, but should let the host honor them. He said the Pharisee would have to be humbled (ala my squirrel), but that a humble tax collector would be exalted. The Son of God said His followers should make themselves servants.

Somehow I doubt Jesus' advice would make headlines on January 2011 editions in sales racks at Wal-Mart right now.  Our world shares the same problem that plagued the Pharisees, who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated others with contempt" (Lk 18:9). We walk a dangerous path when we seek to trust in ourselves instead of God. This doesn't mean we shouldn't be hard working and competent, but our dependence is shallow when our hope rests in our own success or the appearance of it.

Do you know someone who models a humble attitude? My women's ministry team comes to mind when I think about Jesus' challenge to Be Humble. They aren't women who seek attention or acclaim. They aren't looking to take the stage or spotlilght. They aren't positioning themselves for their own benefit or even comfort. They are living out humility.  Here are a few ways they do it:
  • They don't center a conversation only on their own lives; they ask questions about the other person and listen to them.
  • They don't have expectations of getting the "best" or the "most," though they deserve it.
  • They are quick to embrace people of all kinds: rich or poor, perfumed or rough, thin or thick, lovely or needy, polished or imperfect. In their humility, they touch people of all varieties ... just like Jesus.
The world is eager to show us success stories at this time of year, so we will become "followers" of their plans or products or promises.  But when we follow Him, Jesus wants more for us than that. 

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Lk. 18:14

Who is an example of what it is to Be Humble in your life?

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