So I know I don’t usually do weekend devotionals, but I was at my computer this morning (in between packing and helping Mom and Dad look for the safe deposit box key that seems to have grown legs and walked away) and I just felt like I needed to write something.
It’s unusual to write without being freezing cold . . . and to see the sun coming up outside my office windows. I know this will all change by Monday as it’s supposed to be back to the normal 19’s for highs instead of the near-70 we had yesterday.
I checked the verse for today, and it’s a good one:
35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”
He, of course, is Jesus.
I love the disciples so much. I think they all get a bad rap most of the time because people try to romanticize them, trying to make them sound either holier or dumber than they were. They were people, plain and simple. And people haven’t changed much from back then to right now — maybe we have electricity and iPads and MP3 players and Hulu.com but we’re all generally the same as those fishermen 2,000 years ago.
I love the disciples because I can relate to them and their reactions so often, and not just Peter, who most people feel kinship with. John, his youth and excitement. Matthew, his redemption. Thomas, his analytical, reasoning mind. Even Judas to a certain extent.
What Jesus was telling them was revolutionary and probably sounded ridiculous. I know it sounds ridiculous now.
If you want to get ahead in life, you need to stay behind. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. If you want to lead, follow. If you want to be greater than everyone else, make yourself less than everyone else.
Makes no sense. But then most of Jesus’ teachings don’t make sense if you look at them like the world would.
Humility is one of the most important lessons we need to learn.
You know what the first sin was, right? Pride. Even before Adam and Eve felt it (and, yes, that’s what it was), Lucifer felt it and God thumped him out of heaven, as my Pastor so eloquently says. Pride. The Original Sin, the sin that every other sin stems from. If you don’t agree with me, just think about it. Everything we do against God begins with us thinking we know better than He does; it’s pride. And it’s deadly.
But humility? Humility isn’t weakness, as many people in 21st Century America would have you believe. So is it knowing you can do a better job than someone else and grudgingly letting them do it for you? Of course, not. Humility is recognizing your strengths and your weaknesses and recognizing the strengths and weakesses of the people around you and trying to find a way to work together for a singular purpose. Humility is acknowledging the worth of the people around you.
Humility is finding a way to serve other people, even if they haven’t asked for help, whether it’s praying for them or making them meals when they’re sick.
And it’s also about keeping your mouth shut when you have the opportunity to tell someone about what you did for them. If you bust your butt serving someone and then feel the need to tell them all the work you did for them, that’s not humility; that’s wanting recognition for your hard work.
Many times service is done in secret and sometimes people will never know who did nice things for them. That’s humility. Doing something nice anonymously, not caring if you get the credit, not caring if anybody knows it was you who did it.
And the reason the last shall be first and the first shall be last is because He said that’s the way it is. So if we can keep our hands on our humility and not let it go for anything, God will take care of the rest.