Tough passages today.
Injury and property laws in Exodus. More of David’s praise after defeating Saul (lots of “You saved me from my enemy” verses). Prostitutes leaving men with a loaf of bread in Proverbs. Jesus laying it on the religious leaders in Matthew.
I really had to stare at the Scripture to see if anything landed on my meditation plate. Just this:
The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23: 11-12 (NIV)
Matthew has emphasized the upside down nature of the Kingdom of God several times. I mentioned it before here. For Jesus, the way up is down and the way down is up.
However, we are in a culture that obviously exalts being the greatest. Oh, did I just watch the Super Bowl? And has my daughter not told me she wants to put out a famous YouTube video? And become a rich actress or sports star? [Note: I heard these ambitions a couple of years back – this daughter has now evidently outgrown such notions – I hope]
The fact is, I have some of that in me. Ok, maybe a lot. I share some of that drive to be on top. I was just at a work-related meeting where someone gushed over a minor little project I did (minor to me). I was inwardly irritated, “She thinks that’s all I do around here. She has no idea how much more capable I am.” And I went a way, not feeling at all sick at my attitude (though I noticed it), but sick to be regarded as less than I am.
Frankly, sometimes I’d rather just be exalted. I don’t want to be self-forgetful. In fact I want everyone to know who I am!
If that’s the case, why is this blog anonymous?! Heck, I can’t even push it on my Facebook site! It’s anonymous so I can say anything. And right now I really don’t want anyone to know how ambitious I am and how sad I sometimes am not to have achieved my ambitions.
Then how do I willingly embrace Jesus’ humility? It’s evident to me that my desire for greatness is fueled in large part by a sense of worthlessness. If I become great, I will feel great. In fact, I talk about that here.
I know in my head that if I really KNEW how worthwhile I am to Jesus, if I really KNEW how much He loves me*, if I really KNEW satisfaction in my relationship with Him, I’d find rest from my strivings. I’d find rest in my humility. That’s the Holiday at Sea I Long for deep inside.
But sometimes I just want to be on top.
* Which is why I’ve been praying for deeper conviction of sin and greater appreciation of the cross.
Readings: Exodus 21:1-22:31, Psalm 18:46-50, Proverbs 6:26-29, Matthew 23:1-22. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.