November 04, 2019

Too Important?

Devotion for the Week...

In my first few university classes, I was shocked to see how many people were writing in their books. Whether they were underlining key points, making notes in the margins or highlighting entire passages, I looked on in horror. Writing in books feels sacriligious, like a purposeful act of destruction. I have only ever written in a couple of books and they're all cookbooks, where I made a note of how much of each ingredient to use to double the recipe so I don't have to work it out each time. Even making myself do that takes a bit of convincing, lol.*

One of the reasons I don't like writing in books is that I find the next time I read the book I emphasize whatever is underlined or noted. It changes how I read the passage and removes the possibility of me finding new meaning or new understanding. Whatever is underlined becomes the focus and the only possible way of interpreting what is written. That's why my Bible, especially, will never be marked up.

I often read familiar Bible passages and find a new meaning or angle I had never noticed before. It's not because the meaning changes, but because I notice different parts of the story or passage that make me realize something new. And sometimes it's just that a phrase I usually skim over without really noticing it suddenly jumps out at me. We have the Holy Spirit to thank when that happens. Jesus said "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).

Over the summer I had this happen with Galatians 6:3, which says, "If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." I know I've read them many times before, but this time those last five words made me stop completely. You are not that important. I love the bluntness of it. No matter what position we hold in society, no matter how much money we have or how many responsibilities we have, we are never so important that we no longer have the obligation to help other people.

This shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Jesus is our role model in all things. He certainly never considered Himself too important to help people...not even when it meant leaving Heaven to come to earth or when it was time to face death on a cross for sins He had not committed. He even said explicitly that we are to be servants, just as He was.

When we see a need, we probably never consciously think "I'm too important to help that person." How often, though, do we think something like 'I'm too busy' or 'I need a break right now. Someone else can deal with that'? Both are signs of a feeling of our own importance relative to the importance of the person who needs help.

Now, obviously no one person can help everyone in need around them. There are plenty of times when we legitimately have to take care of our own responsibilities and when we have to take time out to rest and take care of ourselves. But what about the times when we just can't be bothered? Helping someone doesn't need to mean a big commitment of time or money. We probably have little bits of both that we could use to help someone, if only we paid attention to others enough to see the needs.
As God's people, we must remember that we are never so important that we no longer have the obligation to help others |
Background quilt is my Flower Box mini quilt
The question we have to ask is, are we so focused on our own importance (in our own eyes) that we aren't looking around to really see other people? As I said, Jesus is our role model, and He invariably saw the people He encountered and paused to help them. How closely are we modeling our lives after Him?

*This is not meant as a judgement of you if you mark in your books! It's just my own preference 😊 I know plenty of people find great value in making notes in their books, and especially in their Bibles and I certainly don't think less of them for it.

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