Weekly Bulletin Articles
“And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them. 8When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 14:7-11
Humility. So easy to see yet so difficult to practice.
What is humility? Here is a dictionary definition: “the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance” (Oxford Dictionary of English). I think we can understand that. Humility is when we realize that we are not the most important person and we act accordingly.
What Jesus observed at a dinner he attended was the opposite of humility. At these dinners, and at many formal dinners today, there was a seating order and a place of honour. The place of honour was to be sitting beside the host. What Jesus observed was that many were seating themselves in the place of honour without being invited to do so. Can you imagine at a wedding dinner someone deciding that he would sit at the head table in place of the bridal party or the couple’s family?
Jesus warned against taking the place of honour. The problem is that this distinguished seat may have been reserved for someone more important than you. Then what would happen? You would be asked to take a lower seat and by that time the only seat that may be left is the least important place. You would be humiliated.
Instead Jesus advised that when you come into a dinner to take the least important seat automatically. Perhaps then the host would see you and ask you to move to a better seat. In this way you would be honoured by all present.
Those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will be humbled. Such a true statement which we still see being played out in our society today. How many people automatically assume that the best is for them? Or that they are the most important? And how often are they humiliated when someone more important is there?
Perhaps in many ways this is a human trait shared by everyone. All people, generally, like to be recognized. And there is nothing wrong with receiving recognition for something that we have done well. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” the apostle wrote to Christians in Rome (Romans 12:10). But notice that idea here: it isn’t about trying to get others to honour us but it is our being devoted to others to the extent that we are ‘eager’ to honour them.
If we could learn this way of thinking different, of thinking like Jesus, everyone would be receiving the recognition they deserved.
So who is it that we need to recognize for the service they have given to us or to someone else? Be seeking ways to honour them rather than seeking the honour for ourselves. This is worth thinking about.
When we stop to think about a mother’s worth …
In recent years women have made important gains in the workplace. Some take jobs out of necessity, but many who don’t necessarily need the income choose to do so. As a result, those who make the choice to be stay-at-home moms are sometimes disparaged. “What’s wrong with you?” others seem to say. “Why don’t you want to work?”
I learned long ago to carefully phrase my questions. Instead of asking a woman, “Do you work?”, I know it’s better to ask, “Do you work outside the home?” Mothers, whether they work only in the home or also at the workplace, are worthy of great respect when they fulfill their motherhood tasks well.
Salary.com provides an interesting tool for calculating a mother’s financial worth. I entered the pertinent data for my daughter-in-law, a mother of two preschool children. According to the calculator, the median income for the area in which she lives, doing the work that she does as a stay-at-home mom, is $111,853. If you wonder why that figure is so high, consider some of the hats a mother wears, according to that site: housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, janitor, van driver, psychologist, nutritionist, staff nurse, etc. (Now you’re beginning to think mothers are undervalued?)
Long ago King Lemuel mused on this very subject. He didn’t have access to Salary.com’s calculator, but he arrived at a similar conclusion about the worth of a godly woman. “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10, NKJV). He also points to some of the many hats such a wife and mother wears: seamstress (vv. 13,19), purchasing agent (v. 14), cook (v. 15), business manager (v. 16a), gardener (v. 16b), benefactress (v. 20), wardrobe manager (v. 21), and teacher (v. 26).
The conclusion naturally follows upon consideration of all that a godly mother does: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her … a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:28,30). Not all mothers are worthy of such praise, for not all fear the Lord. But there are many of us who can say, “My mother is described well by this beautiful passage.”
Let us not take for granted the gifts God has given us. On Mothers’ Day 2021, may we do our own calculations and praise those women whose words and deeds have taught us to follow the Lord.
“‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth'” (Ephesians 6:2,3).
You can glean ample information from someone’s hands. The hands of a mechanic will differ from those of a seamstress; the hands of a gardener will differ from those of a welder. But no matter your profession or obsession, your hands must be useful to the Lord.
Jesus’ hands were magnificent.
In his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus’ teachings were met with skepticism.
“Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?” (Mark 6:2).
The mighty works done by his hands were miracles of healing. These were undeniable. In Capernaum, a day’s journey from Nazareth, Jesus healed a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-26), and the resulting fame spread all over (Mark 1:27, 28). In Capernaum he healed Simon’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-34), cleansed a leper (Mark 1:40-45), gave a paralytic the ability to walk (Mark 2:1-12), and restored a man’s withered hand (Mark 3:1-6). Here he gave a woman relief from a decade-long ailment (Mark 5:25-34), and gave a dead child back to her father (Mark 5:23, 35-43).
Yet his neighbors could not get over what his hands had been trained to do. “Is this not the carpenter?” they asked. They knew his mother, his brothers, and his sisters. His hands were those of a skilled craftsmen, not those of a “holy man.” Instead of belief, they took offense.
The Nazarene carpenter had a new profession, the Great Physician (Luke 4:23). His hands were healing ones. Note carefully the compassion that Jesus demonstrates with his hands. The leprous was to be put out of the camp (Numbers 5:2). This contagious disease was controlled by quarantine. A leprous person could go the remainder of their lifetime without human touch. Jesus was “moved with pity” and “stretched out his hand and touched him” (Mark 1:41).
Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38). His hands were not idle, but in kindness, were deployed for man’s benefit.
These same skilled, gentle, and powerful hands had nails driven through them. The same hands which removed the curse of leprosy, and held formerly diseased and dead children, held the Lord of Glory to the accursed tree (Galatians 3:13).
But this also was an act of love, a mighty act of healing. The nails really didn’t hold Jesus to the cross. The one who controlled nature, time, disease, and death, could certainly overcome his creation’s attempt on his life. When Jesus confessed, “I am he,” the band of soldiers assembled to arrest him fell to the ground (John 18:6). No one takes Jesus’ life from him, but he lays it down of his own accord (John 10:18).
In agony, he allowed his body to be broken, his breath to be taken, and his blood to be spilled. His hands held him to that cross so that the Father would be glorified and so that man could be forgiven.
His hands speak of his perfect love and selflessness.
Your hands might hold children or handle mail, they might make loans or organize books, they might change oil or stock shelves. Whatever they do, make sure they do it to the glory of God. Have compassionate hands that serve others.
What do your hands reveal about you?