Tuesday, April 18, 2017

EASTER JOY: Humble thyself

We are in the middle of the Blue and Gold season. Every afternoon hundreds of young ladies gather together to prepare an evening of storytelling, tumbling, hip-hop, and more. The one night performance will be an evening of energy and excitement. Everyone has their place of honor in the sunlight. It's the dream team.Now, nothing made the Pharisees happier than having the place of honor at banquets, the best seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings of people in the marketplace. They sat on the seat of the great prophet Moses dressed as wise teachers of the law, with broad phylacteries and long fringes — the religious bling of first-century Judaism. They stroked their beards and beamed with pride when people called them “rabbi."

They were the height of arrogance. Flying high. Just not with it. And Jesus wanted to bring them down.

“Do whatever they teach you,” he says, “but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach."

The scribes and Pharisees are hypocrites — people who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. As exceptional men, they believe it was their duty to offer the gift of moral clarity to others. But as for practicing a little charity? Someone else’s problem!

Clarity, without charity, equals hypocrisy.

In place of arrogance, Jesus recommends humility. And then Jesus surprises everyone by making a statement that turns everything upside down, sending the arrogant down to the basement and the humble up to the penthouse suite. “The greatest among you will be your servant,” he predicts. “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted."

We learn this so well when we work with people. The Blue and Gold participants learn this day in and day out. Little steps add up. Serving others produces great results. Those who humble themselves will be exalted, says Jesus. That’s the height of humility.

In the end, we don’t get anywhere by exalting ourselves. We learn that the only real lift comes from exploring humility. Call it the height of humility. Call it God's dream team. See you at Blue and Gold!