Saturday, July 28, 2012

Humility and the Little Child

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:1-4

The disciples were looking to Jesus to define for them the government of Heaven.  Who’s the leader? Who must we impress?  Who is in charge?  Jesus answered that question by showing them not a strong man with bulging muscles, a wise man with a degree from the local college, the richest man in town, or even the most righteous priest.  He showed them a little child.

So what’s so great about a little child that we’d need to be like one to be in the Kingdom of God? Humility.

Humility is often misunderstood.  It’s not a weakness.  It’s not derived from a lack of anything.  Humility isn’t even grown from a neglect of the gifts and talents God has given you.  It’s the absence of pride.  Pride says, “Look at me, look what I’ve done, look at who I have become, look at my bank account, check out my position in my church, do an inventory of my works upon this earth.”  But Humility says “Look what God has done for me, look at how He has used me.”  It’s not neglecting the gifts God has given, but acknowledging that He has given them.  It’s “Tebowing” – acknowledging God openly. Its understanding we are not independent of God, but reliant on Him for everything. 

John 15:5 says “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; FOR WITHOUT ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” A little child knows they are dependent upon their parents for food, clothing, crossing the street, getting better when they’re sick, protection, learning how to live, EVERYTHING. 

So if we’re bearing fruit, who is the fruit for?  You don’t see a tree take its limbs, pull them around to another limb, then pick and eat of its own fruit!  Instead, someone comes along and picks the fruit from the tree.  There’s an old song by Mac Davis that says “Oh, Lord, it's hard to be humble, when you're perfect in every way…”  As funny as that song is, it can be true.  It is hard to be consistently humble.  When people praise us, it can be easy to just say “Thanks”.  But God gets no glory from that if we don’t point it to Him.  Our fruit then just rots on the tree.  He doesn’t choose to build us up for the sake of making us some sort of overloaded fruit tree, bent to the ground and heavy with fruit.  His goal is to lead others to Him by using our “fruit” (blessings, talents, revelations, answered prayers, money, time, etc…) as an example of His goodness. Where pride says “Thanks”, humility says, “Thanks, but all the praise is to God who did it through me.

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