Archive for the ‘humility’ Category

22:4 Cinderella Story

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Bathilde

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4.

Bathilde may have been the original Cinderella. Born into a noble family she was captured and sold as a slave to the French court. Serving there as a kitchen maid, tradition says she handled herself with such dignity and modesty she attracted the notice first of a prince and then of the king. Eventually she became Queen of France, and after the death of the king, became regent for her son. Because of her bitter taste of slavery, she sought to ease and limit the practice, offering new life to many slaves by buying them and setting them free. A woman of faith, she spent the last years of her life in a convent.

Bathilde did not voluntarily humble herself, but allowed grace to work in her situation. Jesus, by contrast, willingly humbled himself. Highest and noblest, he stooped to be lowest. He even identified himself with criminals. In his agony, he feared God, and said, “Not my will but thine be done.”

As a consequence, in a far greater way than Bathilde, he freed people from slavery–slavery to sin. He became poor so we might be rich. He was dishonored so that we might become partakers of glory. He died so that we might have eternal life. Everything now belongs to him. He has the name above all names. He has the power of a resurrected life.

14:28 Necessary People

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Alfred the Great at his studies.

In a multitude of people is a king’s honor, but in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince.

Unlike some historic princes who treated their people as so many creatures to be plundered, tortured, and misused at will, Alfred the Great recognized the importance of people and their diverse abilities.

In a famous comment in his translation of Boethius he wrote, “…no man can show any skill, nor exercise or control any power, without tools and materials. There are of every craft the materials without which man cannot exercise the craft. These, then, are a king’s materials and his tools to reign with: that he have his land well peopled; he must have prayer-men, and soldiers, and workmen. You know that without these tools no king can show his craft.”

Jesus accepted many of the limitations of earthly kings, choosing not to achieve his goals by fiat. Instead, he works through a people, who he himself draws and prepares for his work, and empowers with necessary gifts so that they can carry out his work. Like Alfred, he relies upon people to allow him to demonstrate his “craft.”

16:19 Humble or Haughty

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Charles Wesley who rejected wealth.

Charles Wesley who rejected wealth.

Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

The young Charles Wesley refused a living of five hundred pounds a year, choosing to remain with those he loved. He also refused another large fortune which a lady would have given him out of spite toward relatives who had quarreled with her. His simple reply was, “It is unjust.” Advised to accept the fortune and give it to the relatives himself, Charles replied, “That is a trick of the devil; but it won’t do. I know what I am now, but I do not know what I should be if I were thus made rich.”

Considering how seldom riches go hand in hand with spiritual depth, and how often the wealthy are proud people, I cannot doubt that Charles Wesley made the right decision.

In embracing poverty for the sake of righteousness, Wesley was like his master. Christ emptied himself of everything pertaining to his Godhead (Philippians 2), and could justly speak of himself as meek and lowly (Matthew 11:28-30). He lived among the humble when his birthright and abilities might have placed him in a palace. But, like Moses, he preferred the privations of his people to the pleasures of their oppressors.