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These Two go Hand in Hand

For well over a decade, I have held a weekly conference call prayer meeting with my corporate brothers1 in which we set aside 30 minutes or so to pray together - to commit to God the work of our hands, the things on our hearts . . . and then, we ask God for wisdom, his wisdom. Have you ever thought about the difference between worldly wisdom and the wisdom of God? This writer showed the contrast: "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from Heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.2 And then a few verses later, "But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."3 Godly wisdom is humble. "Lord, teach us about humility, won't You?" Humility is not a lack of confidence or being self-effacing. Rather, humility is seeing ourselves in correct position before our Maker and with other people. What do you think of your position before the Lord? Where do you place your own value in regard to others? Who are the 'others'?­­ Those I know and love, those I just know, those I know and don't esteem too highly, those I don't know at all. How do I treat them? It has been said that 'the sign of a gentleman is how he treats those who can be of absolutely no use to him.' (How are you doing with this?) God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, parting the Red Sea for them to escape the pursuing Egyptian armies. God used Moses to continue to lead the people to the Promised Land, even entrusting to him the 10 Commandments. Moses - called, strong leader used by God - but God said of him that he was "more humble than anyone else on the face of this earth."5 God used Moses because of his humility and then honored and exalted him... a pattern repeated throughout Scripture. The Scriptures hold out humility as a virtue to be valued and sought after, a discipline to be practiced and honed--revered in both the Old and New Testaments. About 800 years before Christ was born, at a time when Israel and Judah had risen to heights of economic affluence yet had fallen to depths of spiritual decadence, the prophet Micah penned, "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."5 And our humble Lord - what did Jesus have to say about humility? In answer to the disciples' question, "Which of us is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?" Can't you just see them standing there, looking back and forth at one another, looking at Jesus, thinking 'pick me, pick me!' But instead Jesus called a small child over and put the child among them. Then He said, "I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven."6 The disciples were left standing there, scratching their heads, 'what is it about a child?' My friend answered that question when he told me that what turned on his quest for Christian truth was his daughter. . . why? Because children trust more simply, love with abandon, aren't spoiled by the 'wisdom' and teaching of the world, and besides, children tend to be innocent, and children are teachable. Then there is this ~ what the senior President George Bush said of Ronald Reagan in his eulogy: "Days after being shot, weak from wounds and in the hospital, the president spilled water from his sink; when his hospital room aides entered his room, they saw him on his hands and knees wiping water from the floor. You see, he worried that his nurse would get in trouble. The good book says humility goes before honor, and our friend had both, and who could not cherish such a man?" This simple illustration of the humility of President Reagan who thought of others before himself reminds me of thinking well of every person, no matter his position, no matter her title or lack of one. Let's pursue humility today, my friends; let's teach our children to be humble - to think of themselves less and to think of others more. Let's hold it as a premium to be embodied in the workplace. Maybe an interview of self is in order: Do I always think of myself first? Do I get along well with family members and colleagues or do I always think I am right, causing friction? Do I talk down to people or talk disrespectfully to them? Hmmmm.... How do I treat people? Some thinking and some reflection is always in order. "I Believe it Now" - a song about believing what we see of God...takes humility, right? Humbly, Christine

1 - Since July 2008, I have been the corporate pastor to an international company. What a privilege. 2 - James 3.13-16 3 - James 4.6 4 - Numbers 12.3 5 - Micah 6.8 6 - Matthew 18.14

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