The world teaches us that we need to exalt ourselves. The people that our children look up to are many times persons who always want to be the best. They strive to be No. 1 because power and money are what equates success. In an effort to achieve this money and success, we want our children to over-extend themselves. They don't have time to grow up as kids. We groom them for success by pushing them beyond the limits of where they should be. After all, success is measured by what colleges are looking for, and colleges want to see volunteers and all kinds of activities plus the grades for a student to be the best.
Volunteering is a good thing, but not if we are volunteering to make the grade just to prove we are worthy of something. While volunteering can be very selfless, it can also be very selfish. It can be selfish if the motives are anything but an act that is out of a sense of love and self-giving without the desire to be repaid for what we do.
Over the years, I have been part of many volunteer organizations. I get frustrated when I find that while some are expected to volunteer their services, others want some form of compensation.
Yet Jesus teaches us that we are to humble ourselves to be successful. This is not just a concept that Jesus talked about. This is the way Jesus lived.
Philippians teaches us that we need to have a mindset like Christ, who, though he was God, did not equate himself with God the Father but humbled himself as a bondservant and came in the likeness of men.
A bondservant no longer owed his master any time; he had already earned his freedom, but yet he chose to continue to work for his master. Like a bondservant Jesus came to earth as a man and humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
Jesus could have claimed Kingship, and the people would have followed. He could have called for an army of angels to come and defeat the enemy, but instead he humbled himself, as he calls us to do. While he is God, he did not remind the people wherever he went who he was. In fact, in the wilderness when he was tempted, he went beyond what we would have done if we had the power to do what we could have done. But that was not what he came here to do. He came here instead to open the door to the kingdom of God and set us free. He showed us that when we humble ourselves before the Lord, the Lord will exalt us to a level we would never be able to achieve on our own merits.
When Jesus humbled himself in completing God's mission for him, then God exalted the name of Jesus above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, those in heaven, those on earth, those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This week when we celebrate Holy Week, let us see that those of us who truly humble ourselves like Him are the ones who will someday be exalted, not by what we do or have done, but because of what the Lord will do with us and through us. AMEN
- Behrens is the pastor at the Loyalsock and Wallis Run United Methodist Charge.