A Tough Lesson In Humility…

A Tough Lesson In Humility…

We have had some key people leave the church this last year. People we know and love. People who were not on the fringes of this community of faith, but people who were in leadership roles here, and left those roles sooner then we ever expected to.

We have been working through a sermon series from the book of Matthew, learning and studying what it looked like for the disciples to align their lives with Christ's way of living, particularly after He told them: "Pick up your cross and follow me…" which is why we named this series #ToTheCross. Jesus is calling the disciples to come and suffer with Him. 

As we march forward through the text, this coming Sunday's passage will be Matthew 18:10-20. If you aren't familiar with the passage off the top of your head, this is one of the primary passages in the New Testament that deals with restoration between brothers and sisters in Christ, and how to exercise appropriate and healthy church discipline.  

As I approach the text, I am humbled by my own shortcomings and failures to walk blameless in the light of God's Word. There has been much personal reflection on these situations I've mentioned, on these examples where people have left our faith community and broken ties with our flock. As I allow God to mold and shape me through this experience, there is much I have to own as being problems that reside on my own side of the street. Its humbling. 

As I study the text, I am also shaken by my own fleshly aversion to actually follow through and do the hard things Scripture commands, and be firm and direct with what Jesus teaches his followers to do. There is a desire in me to be liked, a desire in me to be sensitive, and an overall desire in me to be excessively diplomatic in my word choices. Trying to achieve the perfect balance is a semi-helpless feeling.  

Would you pray for me? Pray that I say the things the Holy Spirit would have me to say? That I would preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Would you also be in prayer for our church? Passages like this are often either skimmed over and generally ignored by well-meaning congregations, or taken out of context and beaten to death by someone wielding a bully pulpit. Lord give us wisdom. 

Last Sunday, it was really enjoyable to preach from Matthew 18:1-9; where Jesus answers the question from his disciples" "Who then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

If you were with us, I paraphrased Jesus' response to the posed question to be: "Do you want to know what true greatness is? Let me tell you the truth right here and now, and you aren't going to like it. You aren't going to like it, because its going to require that you change your behavior, change your thoughts, change your steps, and begin to change how you perceive this world. Its going to require you to change how you live your lives. True greatness in the kingdom of heaven will require change in everything!" 

Then I gave this sermon bullet point:
True greatness stands helplessly humble before Jesus. Matthew 18:2-5 

Well, your pastor here at Randall Church is certainly feeling humbled. I don't believe these would be the steps I would choose even if I knew it meant I was moving towards greatness. I confess I would choose an easier path. No, this path doesn't feel great at all. But humbling? Yes. Most definitely. Helpless? Not quite. I keep trying to take back control…

I have much to learn. 

Lord, like the little child in Peter's home you used as an illustration for your disciples, may you teach me to stand helplessly humble before Jesus. As you mold me, may you use me to speak your truth to others.

Lord, Emmanuel; God be with us!

- Pastor Milo



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