March 04, 2019

Would I Be Willing to Do This?

Devotion for the Week...

Our boys are usually the ones responsible for bringing in the wood we use in our wood burning furnace during the winter. Since the weather in the winter isn't always great for outdoor work, I have one standard I use for deciding when to send them out to bring in the wood - would I be willing to work outside in this weather? When it's really windy, the answer is probably no because the wind chill would make it too unpleasant. If it's fairly cold, but there's no wind, the answer is yes, I would, so out they go. To be honest, usually when I'm sending them out, I'm also wishing I could join them since I really enjoy bringing in wood! Alas, indoor work usually gets in the way.

'Would I be willing to do this?' is not a bad standard for when you're tempted to ask someone else to do anything. If you're not willing to do it, why are you willing to make them do it?

It would seem God thinks 'would I be willing to do this?' is a good standard, too. Consider this story Jesus told: "When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: 'When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted'” (Luke 14:10).

Jesus often needed to correct His disciples for their inclination to worry about being honoured, which is exactly what He was doing with this story as He saw everyone trying to get the best seats at the dinner party. People aren't much different now, are they? We all want to be 'properly' honoured or given what feels to us like the right amount of attention and prestige. Just think about how easily we can be convinced that we need the 'prestige' version of a credit card or other service. We like to think of ourselves as important and worth the honour.

Jesus tells us that we're going about it all wrong. We should be humbling ourselves, not in a fake way that is really just a ploy to get people to correct us and so give us the honour we already know is due us, but we should honestly "Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).

What does this have to do with the question, 'would I be willing to do this'? Well, Jesus is telling His followers to humble themselves, which most would consider a difficult way to live. Would He be willing to do it Himself or is He asking us to do something He wouldn't be willing to do? We find our answer just a couple of verses later in Philippians 2: "Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross" (vv. 6-8).

As in so many other things, Jesus is our model when it comes to humbling ourselves. Think of all the honour that is due Him as the Son of God. Then think of how He came into our world, born in a stable rather than the grand palace He deserved. Think of His life as the son of common people, trained as a carpenter like His earthly father and then ministering to the masses with "no place even to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). He never sought special treatment or special honours.
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
Jesus' whole life is an amazing example of humility, capped by the ultimate example when He allowed Himself to be crucified so that He could save us. We have ample proof that He was willing to humble Himself just as He teaches us to do. Now it's up to us to follow His example.

1 comment:

  1. The winter I was pregnant with our third child, besides being extremely sick with nausea etc, it was also a very cold and stormy winter. It seemed that a every weekend my husband had to work 3 out of 4 each month!), it would storm. So the kids (4 & 2 1/2) and I would have to bring in wood for the woodstove to supplement our furnace heat in an old house and in case the power would go out. This involved coming home from church, going out to the woodshed and piling split wood on the kids' toboggan, hauling it up to the house, throwing it on the back porch, throwing it into the summer kitchen and then stacking it in the back room. I was so sick that by the time I'd helped get the wood into the house, I had to go lie down or I was going to fall down. so it was left to my kids to stack the wood. Then we could have lunch and I was generally able to make something nice and warm.
    It never failed. The weekends my husband had off... yep … it was lovely winter weather. Hubby did try to have wood in the house for us but somehow, every Sunday we'd be out fetching wood every Sunday.
    Fortunately our kids thought this was great fun and they were helping mommy and looking after her and the baby.


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