“When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14
Father God, I pray that I will no longer seek glory for myself, accomplishment for myself, recognition for myself, but that YOU will lift me up instead, as I humble myself. May I be like Jesus, who “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” (Phil 2) As Travis talked about yesterday in communion, may I be willing to have the mindset of Jesus, which is like me deciding to be an ant and serve the ants and allow them to kill me.
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” I Cor 3:6-7
Holy Father, may I be humble and realize that it is all up to you. Only YOU can make things grow. May I build as an expert builder, on Christ, not on my own wisdom. Please always give me guidance to be your fellow worker, and to labor with you on the work you are focusing on.
A quote by Jonathan Edwards, cited in Jake’s sermon yesterday: “The Gospel story is designed to affect us emotionally – and our emotions are designed to be affected by it’s beauty and glory. It touches our hearts at their tenderest parts, shaking us deeply to the core. We should be utterly humbled that we are not more emotionally affected than we are.”
Jake talked about how our lives should be like a party, a celebration that we can follow Jesus. We should have an abundance of joy, passion and excitement. I want to live this way more, to see more deeply how wonderful the gift is that I have been given, to be more aware of it each moment, and not at just a few times during the week.
Last night we were watching the end of Les Miserables. It is easy for me to get choked up to the point of holding off a sob as I watch this. How much more should I get emotional about the gospel! The deeply moving, inspiring message is the same:
Come with me
Where chains will never bind you
All your grief
At last, at last behind you
Lord in heaven;
Look down on him in mercy
(VALJEAN:) Forgive me all my trespasses and take me to your glory
Father, let me humble myself, and see the wonders of the gospel story like a child. May I not be corrupted by the good things you have given me: “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.” Ez 28:17. May I instead build with beauty — with the gold, silver and costly stones of your word, of service and of love.
Father, you are HOLY and you would have us treat you as such, with humility, reverence and gratitude. In a thousand ways, all around me, I can see how you work. You build your church around the world. you change hearts. You give people hope. You call people to you. You bless immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.’ ” Ez 28:25-26
Father, you have gathered us out of the world. We have been caught in the net of the fishers of men. We are living out your purpose, and you are shown to be holy. May I be ever more humble as I realize who YOU are, what you have done, and what you continue to do.