Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lessons of Humility

Shhhh...Don't tell anybody, but I am caught up on all paperwork!
Now if only that would finish all of it for all time, but I know better.  Yet, even though I know that I can be taken off guard.  It is a rare day when we don't receive some item in the mail that needs tending.  It is when I think I am done with some particular aspect and then discover yet more to do that I might not react very graciously.  At times something comes that just confuses me, which is not that difficult to do!

Recently we had settled all our benefits for retirement.  That didn't stop the company from continuing to send out packets urging us to enroll before it was too late.  We called the benefits department to confirm, once again, that we were set just in case something got lost along the way.  No phone call is simple, as we all well-know!  To speak with a real person takes jumping through a number of hoops.  Hitting "0" for operator doesn't do it anymore. 
They got smart.
Okay, so we get that settled with names and confirmation numbers then the company sends us something telling us that we can opt for coverage under "COBRA."  For a mere seventeen hundred dollars a month!!!  Yikes!!  What did that mean??  What about retiree coverage??
Did you know that, by law, companies have to send out the huge packet of material offering coverage under "COBRA" even though the cost of retiree coverage is a fraction of that?  Who would opt to pay more?
Our world just gets more and more complicated.  My heart goes out to those who do not have anyone to help them through the maze of choices, paperwork and phone calls. 
It can be very scary when you have no where to turn.  I remember the days when I didn't have Papa to turn to and am so grateful that I can look to Him every step of the way.

Choosing the Living God brings more benefits than can even be imagined.  The benefits include His Body, which is filled with talented, loving people.  He has brought a few of them alongside us.  Papa is so gracious.

He has called us, as His body, to minister to one another in love.  That is the mark of who we belong to: love.  In John chapter thirteen, the thirty-fifth verse, Jesus said:
"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
For many of us it is easier to give that love than to receive it.  Somehow we have bought into the lie that we are to be self-sufficient, independent people that do not need to accept help from others.  I have learned how wrong that thinking is, as Papa has lead me through this past year.

Years ago people referred to me as a "survivor."  They were right.  I did what it took.  It lead to illness in body and soul. 
Encountering and falling in love with Jesus helped me to relax my grip on many things, but it has been a process.  It takes letting go of your pride and being willing to be humbled.  Not an easy process.

Just this morning Papa spoke to me about the issue of humility.  It was obvious as it came from numerous directions.

In his devotional "Sanctuary," David Jeremiah referenced Proverbs eleven, verse two:
"When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom." 
He spoke of the humility of Billy Graham.  Mr. Graham intends to take all the recognition he has received and lay it, one day, at the feet of Jesus.  I believe he has impacted many lives because he constantly points to Jesus, not himself.
As I read the scripture verse I thought that pride is what is behind foolish choices that simply complicate the issue.  To be humble means we accept guidance and gain wisdom.  So when I am trying to juggle everything all by my lonesome it is pride that is fueling the foolishness.  Conversely when I do handle things well, I need to recognize that it was by the grace of God, not some great skill of mine!

Max Lucado had a little to say about being humble this morning in his book "Grace for the Moment."  The verse he focused upon is found in the second chapter of Titus, the fourteenth verse:
"who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."
Max said that God's grace is given to lead us in wisdom and service for our God, to bring glory to our God.  It is not for self-indulgence.  While it amazes me that God loves me so very deeply and desires to bless me and has made my life so rich, I much not to take that to mean that He would have me be His spoiled princess.  To keep things in focus I need to remember who He is and who I am without Him.  He has redeemed me, a wretch, who had made a big mess of her life.  I am eternally grateful.  Praise God!  I will have eternity to praise and thank Him!

Then we have the very serious Oswald Chambers.  In today's reading in "My Utmost for His Highest,"  the quoted verse was from Luke fourteen, verse twenty-eight:
"For which one of you, when he wanted to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?"
Now what does this have to do with humility? 
Mr. Chambers reminded me that there is a cost to following our LORD.  It is not about us and our comfort, but all about Jesus.  Pride does not allow such sacrifice.  Yet the cost is glorious because of what we receive in exchange.  This exchange only takes place when we humbly seek our God.

The final thoughts came from reading Exodus, chapter thirty two, the first fourteen verse, which I will not quote here.  What I got out of the reading was how humble Moses was.  He did not think of himself, nor did he take credit for successfully leading the Israelites thus far.  He gave God the credit and was concerned that God's Name be held high and not allowed to be dishonored.  He looked to the LORD for help and direction and did not allow pride to distort his perspective.

What do all of these ruminations mean for me?  I delight that my Papa is so intimately concerned about every detail of my life that He speaks into my life constantly.  He knows I need it.

A comment that Beth Moore made in her book made me laugh out loud, more than once.  She said that she wants the following inscription on her tombstone: "God got tired!"
Yes, He is constantly at work in each of our lives.  Some of us keep Him extra busy.  I am glad that He is never too tired to be active in my life!

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