Yesterday, my neighbor brought her three little girls over to play. One by one, they filed in through the door. Precious, blonde-hair, blue-eyed beauties. First walked in little two-year-old beauty. Next to follow right behind was little five-year-old beauty. Pause…where’s little seven-year-old beauty?
Minutes later, here comes mom. Behind her is the third sister. Red-face. Tears.
“Oh no! What happened?”
With broken words she cried, “I wanted… to sit… up front. But Sophie was in that seat. She wouldn’t move. She knew I wanted to sit there.”
I smiled, “You know what the Bible says about being first? It says that it is better to be last! Do you know that in Heaven the last will be first? Isn’t that cool? High five to being last!”
No response. No expression. That sweet girl looked at my “high five” hand held up, took one look at my cheesy grin… then walked on past me.
I don’t blame her.
I’m sure she was thinking, “Why is my mom friends with this woman? She is extremely corny.”
I can relate to her sadness. I relate to her desire to sit in the front seat.
Sweet Jesus addresses this issue:
One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee…he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table. He told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.” Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Gosh, I can act like such a pharisee.
“Me, me, me! Pick me first, Jesus! Look at what I can do for you! Exalt me. Pick me. Can I sit in the front seat?”
Sit in the back.
Then I can exalt you.
Humble (tapeinoō): to lower, depress 1) speaking of the soul – bring down one’s pride 2) to have a modest opinion of one’s self 3) to behave in an unassuming manner 4) devoid of all haughtiness.
I can’t help but read this over and over again.
How would my life be different if this was 100% true of me. How would I be a different mother? A different wife? A different daughter? A different friend?
What if I, 100% of the time, did things in ALL HUMILITY. Not seeking attention. Not seeking affirmation. Not seeking a spiritual pat on the back from my Heavenly Father.
In all HUMILITY, I am confessing to you right now that humility is just hard.
I love it when I think God gives me a metaphorical Way to Go sticker on my “service chart.” Or when I get lots of “I loved today’s blog” comments at the bottom of the post. Or when Brent brags on me. Or when I think I am viewed well by my peers.
Ugh. I am feeling extremely vulnerable at the moment.
But, I feel like I need to say this. And I have a feeling I am not alone.
Humility is often an act of obedience. Look at Christ’s example.
And being found in appearance as a man, [Jesus] humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:8-11
Now that is some serious humility.
As an act of obedience to the Father, we are to HUMBLE ourselves. To die to our selves. To die to our pride. Not to exalt ourselves. But choose the lowest position.
So He can exalt us.
Lord, thank your for humbling yourself. You made yourself nothing. You took the form of a servant and died on a Cross for me. (Phil 2:7) Thank you, thank you, thank you. Oh Lord, purify me here. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps 139:24) Pride is so gross. I just don’t like it. I am repulsed by my own flesh. As an act of obedience, I die to myself. I die to my pride and position. I am but dust. Who am I that you would think of me? (Ps 144:3) I don’t deserve your love, but I sure am thankful for it. I love you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.
More on humility:
The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord. – Isaiah 29:19
“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. -Isaiah 66:2
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. -Luke 1:52 (From Mary’s song of Praise)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2
The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. – James 1:9
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. – James 4:10
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. – 1 Peter 3:8
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. – 1Peter 5:5-6