September 19, Sunday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 5, 2014.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“No, It Isn’t for You, Donkey.”

James 4:6b

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 

As Jesus rode on a donkey to enter Jerusalem just before his crucifixion, the crowd wildly cheered for him, shouting, “Hosanna!”  Imagine if the donkey assumed that they were doing it for him, how silly that would be.  While we need not worry about that, the same cannot be said about us since humans have an unlimited capacity for self-grandeur.  Once, a gentile woman with a troublesome daughter shouted to Jesus, “Lord, Son of David. . . have mercy on me!”  Perhaps, bothered by the fact that she was not a Jew, “his disciples . . . urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying after us’” (Matt. 15:23).  Us?  If I were Jesus, I would have quipped, “Me, not you.  Check your hearing; better yet, your heart.”

That Jesus’ disciples were plagued with pride may come as a surprise to some but their favorite pastime was discussing who was the greatest among them.  Once when Jesus asked, “What were you arguing about on the road,” they said nothing because “they had argued about who was the greatest” (Mk. 9:33-4).  The repeated admonitions by Jesus hardly made any dent; they continued this discussion all the way to the very night of Jesus’ betrayal (Lk. 22:24). 

God, who “opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,” will not tolerate such attitude.  So then, how did Jesus handle the situation in which his disciples thought that the woman was crying after them?  Perhaps looking straight into their faces, Jesus declared, “Woman, you have great faith” (Matt. 15:28a).  Such lofty appraisal was what they wanted to hear from their master but never did.  That’s called, “Facing the music.”

How about us?  I cannot begin to tell you how many different ways God had to humble me because I thought people were cheering for me instead of the One who gave me the strength to be effective and whom I was representing.  Once, I thought I was pretty a good speaker, but after my partner in ministry had left, all I heard from the congregation was how much they missed his preaching!  That stung but, looking back, it was necessary.

Are you staying humble, or is too much success gets in the way?  Change your thinking; it’s not really you— it’s HIM!  One way to show that is through “offer[ing] to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Ps. 50:14).  Take a moment to consider what sacrifice may be acceptable to the Lord, today.

Prayer: Dear God, keep me humble!  Help me to see what I am really like without all the additives and adornments in order that I clearly see how I am nothing apart from Your abiding grace. Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Lamentation 4

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