Thursday, October 22, 2009

So It’s You That They See

I try to teach my kids to go the extra mile in kindness. I hope they will be friends with the one no one wants to be friends with, tell the truth when it could get them in trouble, stay back to help someone when you’d rather run ahead, work hard when they’d rather goof off. It’s a message that doesn’t have a place in our world. We are supposed to work hard to be all that we can be, whatever it takes to get ahead. Only do good things when someone is watching or it will benefit you.

If they are doing all those things just to be “good”, they are going to get quickly frustrated because it’s hard. They will get hurt. They will feel left behind. Jesus wants us to be humble and put others first. It’s a tough lesson to learn. I know because I keep having to learn it over and over again! How many times am I going to have to learn humility? Apparently a lot.

There’s a story in the Bible about this. It’s in Luke 14:7-11.

When he[Jesus] 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 no 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 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."

I was kind of hurting today. I thought I’d try to escape by going on some errands with the girls which is about as good of an escape as jumping into a pit of quick sand. I was hurting because sometimes I try to take the best seat, the place of honor. Handing that seat out isn’t my job, it’s God’s. The thing is that I don’t want to be humble. It doesn’t feel good. I want to look good and have it all together and meet people’s needs and raise good kids. Why? So people will like me, think I’m a good parent and wonder how I have it all together with five kids.

When I’m doing things for the wrong reasons it leaves me feeling forgotten, frustrated, hurt and sad. Why am I doing the stuff I’m doing? Is it for the right reason?

The ultimate reason for anything I do should be to lift Jesus up. He is great, not me. He has the answers, not me. Doing things for selfish gain leaves me flat and cold. It can be frustrating to feel like you don’t get the recognition you deserve. It can be hard to watch someone else come in and sweep away your hard work.

But God’s way is not my selfish, prideful way.

Luke 6:35-36

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Matthew 18:4

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

And you know what? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I’m not recognized. Not if I am doing things for the Lord. Not for recognition, money, or to get ahead. It’s all about Him and for His glory. Is it still hard? Definitely. As I realize my need for praise from people I don’t need to look far to hear love from God. He knows. He cares.

Luke 12:7

Indeed, the very hairs of you head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Psalm 32:10

Many are the woes of the wicked,

but the Lord’s unfailing love

surrounds the man who trusts in him.

When I’m humble, he is exalted. When I’m weak, He is strong. When I’m tired, He carries me. That hurt and frustration send me right to humbleness and I land at the feet of Jesus. I’ve got to do things for Him, no one else. When I do, I’ll never be disappointed because He loves me and is my only audience.

Hopefully I’m close to learning this lesson. Hopefully my kids will learn it younger and better than I.

Some sports players have rituals they do before big games. They might wear a certain shirt or pound the wall or listen to music. My new ritual for the big game of everyday needs to be to listen to this song. The version I have is sung by Michael W. Smith which makes it extra awesome.

Be Lifted High

by Leeland Moorling

Sin and its ways grow old,

all of my heart turns to stone.

And I’m left with no strength to arise,

I need to be lifted high.

Sin and its ways lead to pain,

left here with hurt and with shame.

So no longer will I leave Your side,

Jesus, You be lifted high.

You be lifted high,

You be lifted high,

You be lifted high in my life, oh God.

And I fall to my knees so it’s You that they see, not I,

Jesus, You be lifted high.

And even now that I’m inside Your hands.

help me not to grow prideful again,

Don’t let me forsake sacrifice,

Jesus You be lifted high.

And if I’m blessed with the riches of kings

how could I ever think that it was me?

For you brought me from darkness to light,

Jesus, You be lifted high.

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

1 comment:

sharilyn said...

now, that's a good word! :) thanks...