Archive for the ‘status’ Category

22:29 Skillful Workers

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Christopher Wren, mastermind, was asked to rebuild St. Paul's Cathedral.

Christopher Wren, mastermind, was asked to rebuild St. Paul's Cathedral.

Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

Rich and powerful people want the best. Not many White House invitations go out to obscure people. Business leaders, renowned stars, and meritorious teachers get them. In Great Britain, royal chaplains and medical consultants are not chosen at random, but from the prominent individuals in their field. Christopher Wren was asked to rebuild St. Paul’s Cathedral, not some farmer who threw up a sheep cote between breakfast and dinner.

Now Jesus’ business was the Father’s business—that is, showing holiness and testifying to the truth of God. As could be expected, this brought him to the attention of the powerful men of his day. We are told, for instance, that Herod wanted to see him, thinking John the Baptist had returned from the dead.

In the end, Herod got his wish. Jesus stood before this murderer. He also stood before the Jewish leaders and the more powerful Roman governor, Pilate. But Christ’s business was not of the kind worldly leaders ooh and ah over. Palestine’s power mongers did not solicit his services toward becoming better men, but derided and disposed of him.

25:6 Proud Follies

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Proud Cardinal Beaton.

Proud Cardinal Beaton.

Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, ‘Come up hither;’ than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen. Proverbs 25:6.

Cardinal David Beaton and Archbishop Gawin Dunbar were both proud men in sixteenth century Scotland. One day they had to enter a church together and each claimed precedence. A war of words ensued. Soon their retainers were at blows, tearing each others’ fine clothes, swinging their crosses as weapons and even rolling upon the ground like boys in a school-yard fight. The spectacle of religious leaders scrapping for pre-eminence brought mockery on the church they represented.

It was this attitude of pushing oneself forward which Solomon was at pains to warn against.

Jesus, who came as a lowly man among the lowly, gave a similar warning to the haughty religious leaders of his day, although he applied the principle not just to the royal court, but to more mundane social situations.

Possibly his idea was formed through reading Solomon. Here is what he said, “When you are invited by any man to a wedding, don’t sit down in the highest place, lest a more eminent person than yourself is invited by him and the one who invited both of you says to you, ‘Give this man place;’ and you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place; then when he who invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher:’ then you will have respect before those who sit at dinner with you. ”