AT THE HEART OF HUMILITY
Tuesday, 19 June 2018
Luke 14 : 1-14
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)
In the present age, when men are focused on exalting themselves, proclaiming their accomplishments and self-promotion, the ‘Parable of the Dinner Guests’ from Luke 14 teaches us much about the Christian virtue of humility.
The Virtue of Humility:
True humility is not self-seeking but having a lowliness and gentleness of mind or meekness that acknowledges our dependence on God’s grace. At the core of humility is a heart that is eternally grateful to the Saviour for the mercy bestowed upon the sinner.
In washing the disciples’ feet, the Servant King – Christ Himself sets the very example of humility that we are to follow (John 13:15). The Son of God left His heavenly throne and came in human form, humbling Himself in obedience to the Father to the point of death, that we might be set free. (Philippians 2:5-8)
Through His life and ministry on earth, Jesus taught His disciples that, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28) We are called to deny the self, take up our cross daily and follow Him. This is the mark of true humility- forgetting the self and serving God and man with a servant attitude that glorifies God.
Lessons from the Parable:
During Jesus’ days, in a Jewish mealtime setting, guests of honor were seated closest to the host and people of lower social ranking were seated further away. At the Pharisee’s house, Jesus noticed that people were ‘picking out the places of honor at the table’ (Luke 14:7). Similarly, today people vainly strive to promote their status and accomplishments in a futile attempt to find self-satisfaction.
However, Jesus’ teaching goes beyond addressing how to avoid a humiliating social situation to reveal a deeper truth - the pride of man’s heart that seeks to glorify the self. When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2) Yet others may superficially act meek and humble with an intention of being praised – beware that you don’t fall into such temptations. Remember that our exaltation is from the Lord alone who knows our every intention- For not from the east, nor from the west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation; But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another. (Psalm 75:6-7)
Further, in the Kingdom work our duty is to serve the Lord faithfully in whatever small or big way He has called us to service, with an attitude of humility which is the response of grateful heart. The kingdom principle is that we should not assume ourselves of much importance or value, but have a servant attitude. It is God who evaluates and honors each believer.
Have we ever felt upset when asked to serve the needy? Have we desired praise when preaching, teaching or doing other ministry? Have we wanted to do only the “high-profile” ministry work? Let us examine ourselves and our intentions in the Kingdom work. We are not to consider any service to the Lord to be lowly in status to do – it is God who has blessed us with skills and called us to the ministry. An attitude of humility and love for the Lord will enable us do all things with a joyful and compassionate heart (Romans 12:3-8). Remember: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
Thought for the Day: “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” ~C.S. Lewis
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