Tuesday, March 14, 2006
"Do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.
"The greatest among you will be your servant.
"For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
There is so little in life I'm in charge of.
Like ... nothing?
I spend time, energy and resources staving off that dead-on fact. If I lose my keys I turn over the world to find them. If I lose my wallet I can't think of anything else. If I'm short of money to pay the bills I worry myself sick about it. And then when I do get sick I try everything I know to get well again. When do I just let things be? When they're going badly - not very often.
Jesus points me over and over to the virtue of giving my self and my stuff away. He tells me to pay attention to the problems of others rather than my own. This focus generates humility in me.
Unless of course I see myself as savior. It might feel pretty good to think they can't get along without me. So Jesus tells me to avoid that state of mind. Not one of us gets to be called "father" or "teacher." As Roy Weece, campus minister at the University of Missouri, said, "We are all beggars, and sometimes one of us might have an extra crust of bread." That's how we help each other.
Exaltation comes neither from being in control of my life nor from helping someone else get control of theirs. None of us has any control over anything. God does all the work. Whoever humbles himself will be exalted. By God. In his time. In his way. For his purpose.
That's good enough for me.
I love you, O Lord, my rock. When I am entangled in cords of death, nearly drowning, you come. You rescue me, because you delight in me. Thank you for the spacious field of your salvation.