“When it comes to humility, I’m the BEST!”
“Yes, in fact, if it weren’t for my great humility I would go on.”
A conversation like that would ultimately reveal that the words don’t really represent the reality of the speaker’s attitude. Receiving an award for being most humble is sort of self-contradictory. Yet, how often do we find it difficult not to go out of our way to make sure the people around us have taken note of our gracious and humble attitudes? That’s the rub when it comes to human nature – we just want to be recognized in one way or another. We are a very lonely and insecure species.
We’re coming to a section in our study of Matthew where Jesus is going to give us some instruction as to how to handle ourselves in community. We’ll be reading Matthew 18:1-14.
The scene opens with Jesus’ disciples vying for the number one spot in terms of God’s kingdom and His fantasy team ranking. In response, Jesus puts a child in front of them and commands that we follow that example. In what ways do children embody the concept of humility on a societal level? If we think about ancient attitudes towards children, it expands that idea even further. Have you ever been upset when someone was treating you like a child? Why was that offensive? How is Jesus’ call to intentional humility distinct from the way our normal societal patterns work? If we’re not getting our validation from our fellow humans, where will we get it from – to Whom do we look?
Jesus warns us not to put a scandalon – a stumbling block in front of someone who is a humble believer in Jesus. Given the context of not seeking to advance ourselves over each other, how do you think this translates to our community interaction? Based on what Jesus says, how important do you think this is to him?
The final section has a parable about a shepherd who leaves his ninety nine sheep to search for one lost lamb. He was pointing out how all the sheep are valuable to God. No one is unimportant, including you and I. Realizing that, what do you think Jesus’ point is concerning how we interact with each other in community? How can we better embody these traits as a church? If we could do that, what effect do you think it would have on the world around us?
Hope to see you Sunday!