Posted by: pmarkrobb | May 30, 2014

humble?

Let me ask you a question.  Would you describe yourself as “humble?”  If so, take a moment and consider a limit to your humility, both on the high side and the low side.  How quickly would pride creep in, say if someone began praising you for something you had done or for the type of person you are in their eyes?  And do you have a lower limit?  How many times could you be taken advantage of or humiliated before your defense mechanisms kicked in?  Is there a “too far” or a line just this side of absolute bottom?

I found myself asking these questions internally on Wednesday morning this week after consuming the words of Jesus in Mark chapter seven, and the story of someone just like me (in so far as we are both Gentiles).  It touched something at the very core of who I am.

There are plenty of things that I can project outward on a society that seems to fail so often and so epically when it comes to pride; so many cliché-type condemnations on the tip of my tongue that I could rightly direct to “others.”  But I found myself personalizing the question of humility, answering it quickly, and then wrestling with the standard I saw in the story, and how, or whether it is manifested in my own life.  It was me who wrote just a little over a week ago about choosing to live like Jesus did with the rhythm of my life.  “How am I doing in this area?” was another question that traveled to my core and settled there.

Jesus traveled to the region of Tyre and Sidon, and to a home where he hopes to go unnoticed.  As the story goes, and as you would expect, the crowd finds him.  There is a particular woman, a Greek, whose daughter is possessed by a demon.  When she finds out where Jesus is, she hurries to the house and falls at his feet.  Although the Bible does not describe it this way, I don’t think it’s out of line (pun partially intended) to assume that there was a line to Jesus … people, His own people, who were in need.  All of a sudden this Greek woman runs into the house, right up to Jesus and “fell at his feet.” (Mark 7:25 NIV)  No doubt there were some in line who had some cliché-type condemnations on the tips of their tongues.

The woman proceeds to beg Jesus to drive a demon from the body of her daughter.  Can you relate to this Gentile woman who is desperate for Jesus to heal someone she loves?  I have heard Jesus’ answer a hundred times before, but for some reason this time it traveled deep within me.  I wonder what His tone was when He spoke the words?  “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” (Mark 7:27 NIV)  Read those words again … and then maybe a third time.  Do they hit you in a different or deeper place each time you read them?  Do they have you questioning if this woman has a lower line, just this side of absolute bottom?  Can you put yourself in this woman’s place, maybe in another context, something unique to your own life?  Was I just called “a dog?”

I wonder what the timing was between Jesus’ last word and the woman’s first one in response?  The Bible reads as though it was immediate, and, from the words she spoke, I believe it was.  Showing no reaction to the lowly reference, she responds in way that reads, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3 NIV)  She responds in perfect illustration of the words Jesus spoke at the very beginning of his most famous public teaching.  “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” (Mark 7:28 NIV)

“Lord,” I can hear her say, “I accept my lowly place and don’t consider it, even for a second.  I believe, and I am here because, you have the power to heal.  I will praise you and thank you for even the scraps from the table of your servants.  I consider myself as literally nothing for You to be seen as everything.”  This is what she says.  This is no lower limit.  This is poor in spirit.  This is blessed.

Jesus heals her daughter instantly in response to her words.  Is that how it works all the time?  I would dare say based on the experiences of your life and mine, “No, it is not.”  Is this what I aspire to?  Is this the illustration of how I want to answer the questions I was asking myself this past Wednesday and each day since?  “Yes!  Yes, it is.”

Allow the words of Jesus and the stories that surround them to touch your life, and stir in you questions such as these.  Keep asking these questions in your everyday.  Allow the conversation to drive you to new depths in your relationship with the risen Savior.  Allow it to change the way you see and serve others.  So what is your answer?  Would you describe yourself as “humble?”

yeam_2014


Responses

  1. 🙂 Good to be reminded periodically of who we are – apart from, and in, Christ! Thanks!

    Your sharing drew my attention to the life of Christ and how He humbled himself to become like me. How that “event” is described in Philippians. Like all areas of change, I must be enabled and provided change from God and through the Son of Man. So I am thinking that is true of humility as well. I can’t make myself humble, but I can “learn” it from the One who made himself humble. The words of Philippians 2:5-8 seem to indicate the lowly state of man through the eyes and voice God and His Son – “made himself nothing”; “a servant”, “human likeness”, “appearance as a man”, “became obedient to death”. He does not really describe the event in an attractive, human edifying, way. In some ways the same language can sound like that of Mark – “dogs”. It could sound as if he is saying he became a dog. He took on the likeness and appearance of a “man”! (Lest we begin to feel insignificant, useless and depressed as dogs/humans – God, the Father, Son and Spirit speak, and record, and show, and celebrate their love and desired relationship with dogs and humans!! Wow!! The 3 in 1 God desires, and has provided, for us to share in His purpose and creation!! To share in His holiness and righteousness -Eph.4:24 !! To become like Him in thought, desire and practice!! To share in who He is!!)

    Philippians 2:5-8 – “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself (almost as if it was the only reasonable response to being found like a “man”) and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!

    Wow! Father, thanks for drawing my attention to this place of humility through the heart and mind of Mark. Thanks Mark! 🙂 My attention has always primarily been what Christ left to become man. That truth has become much more significant today as the focus has been more on who, and what, I (man) am apart from You – human. Apart from Your coming, and becoming, in the likeness and appearance of a man.

    Enjoy this day He has made journey onWord!


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