Tuesday, 09 January 2018
"But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."
I have to tell you that Jesus just keep piercing straight through the Pharisees into my heart these days. He just gets deeper and deeper and exposes so much that we often overlook. Some of the toughest questions to ask are the ones about ourselves. Some of the hardest realities to face are the ones that involve who we are and what we think and our motives on the inside.
The question, the fourth in this chapter to ponder, of hypocrisy is here: Are we hypocritically centered on ourselves? In other words, how much do we think about doing for ourselves in comparison to doing for others? Jesus clearly goes against the grain of worldy thinking and public leadership. Jesus offers a backwards idea of exaltation through humility not personal exaltation to get to the top. The depth of this question lies in our viewpoint. If we are only looking to advance ourselves, be noticed, play the "you owe me a favor" game then we are thinking and living according to the world's way. It is selfishness and pride.
On the other hand, if we care more about God's view, what God is pleased with, how God wants us to live, then we will take to heart these words of Jesus here. In God's kingdom the last shall be first. In God's kingdom the low shall be exalted. God exalts the humble and disgraces the proud.
Therefore, one of the indicators of our humility is our willingness and looking for ways to serve others. Are you seeking ways to serve others? Are you looking for opportunities to help others in anything? This is not ways to help others so that later they will help me. This is not let me do for you so you will do for me later. This is not barter or bargain service. This is genuine service that does not seek any recognition or glory or notice. This is humble service to do for others because Christ has done so much for you.
Hypocrisy thinks about what will benefit me and my plans. Hypocrisy thinks of ways to look good as I do for others while I am waiting on a time to have the favor returned. That is corrupt. That is self motivated. Humility seeks to serve out of the goodness of a heart. It does not expect a return. It does not expect a later remembrance. It simply serves and in this manner God is pleased and in His kingdom these are the ones who are exalted. So contrary to the world's recognition of the powerful, God exalts the missionaries no one has heard about, the faithful pastors who barely fed their families, the fireman/ policeman who did their service with no thank yous, the "Samaritans" of the world who behind the scenes do for others and are as humble as they come.
Let each of us seek to serve another today out of love and goodness, not personal agenda and motive. Humbly serve someone else for Jesus' sake.