Jesus takes every opportunity he has for a teachable moment. We get a front row seat to all of this great wisdom. Granted, there were days not memorialized to be sure, but when situations aligned, Jesus used them to teach. That’s what a good teacher does.
As parents, we try to find those moments with our children. One simple question from our wee ones may often bloom into a full-fledged life lesson. Those are the moments that stick with you and make an impression. Our glimpse into the life of Jesus shows us those moments so they can stick with us.
Humility. For some, it is a hard trait to aspire to. There are very strong-willed individuals who want to be first at everything. Their drive and ambition is so strong, little thought is given to who may be trampled in their path. Jesus is speaking especially to them, but to us as well.
There is so much emphasis in being first, we even want our sports teams to be #1! I read just today, as the Winter Olympics are underway, that the most unhappy competitors are those who receive the silver medal. Receiving a medal of any sort is sense of accomplishment, even just making it to the Olympic games is a feat most people never achieve.
Why is it? What prize could be that important? Recognition? Glory? Wealth? Prestige?
Jesus says, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” That is what we should strive for, to be exalted in God’s eyes. Our prize, our goal should be bigger than what man or the world offers. We need to look beyond the present and look to our future destiny.
If we humble ourselves now, we will soon be exalted at Jesus’ banquet table. We will be invited to the place of honor. Who is it that we should be trying to please in this life? That should be a startling reminder to us. Ask yourself, “Am I living my life in humility, bowing before my Lord, behaving in a pleasing way, giving credit to the creator?”
Jesus adds another twist to this discussion when he speak of the invitation. Who do you associate with? Only those who are like you? Or do you serve the poor and invite those with afflictions to be part of your inner circle?
If we are looking for recognition and honor from God, we should be stepping outside of what is comfortable and seeking those less fortunate. I know I’m not always good at this. When I’m in a group of people, I am drawn first to those I know. That’s probably pretty universal. I should be looking for the afflicted person. Yet sometimes, it may be tricky because people disguise themselves. Ask God to show you.
Will Jesus’ words today change the way you enter your next gathering of people? Have you be seeking glory for all the wrong reasons? Ponder these things today.
Let’s pray. Father, you are a master at life lessons. Your Word is so full of wisdom and truth. We often forget the subtle, yet powerful lessons you have for us. May I truly reflect on how these words should alter my behavior. Forgive me for my stubbornness, my greed, my weakness, and fear of new situations. Help me to embrace this life you have given me. May all I do and say be pleasing to you. May my life reflect a humility and grace that can only come from you. Use that to attract people to me. Use me to heal the brokenhearted and bring your wayward children back to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.