Thursday, July 19, 2012

Confession #3 - To be or not to be Humble - that is the question.

"To be or not to be Humble" - aka "You Got Served"

Recently I have been struggling with this issue of being humble enough to let others serve me.  Okay, I'll just say it, I don't know how to be served.  I can't seem to ever let anyone do anything for me.  I want to control it all, and although I'm ashamed to admit this, sometimes by taking it all on, I can play the martyr role.  But today this issue is weighing heavily on my heart - probably because I had a blowout on the highway yesterday and had to ask a friend for help to change the tire.  So how do I let others serve me without this intense feeling of obligation for repayment? 

Now that doesn't necessarily include family in my book because I was raised with the value that you do for family no matter what.  But I was also raised with the ideology that you never bring someones plate back empty.  Consequently I don't return people's plates too quickly because I like to cook or bake something to give back to the kind person who brought us something.  That train of thought has carried over to the obligation of giving back to those who have given to me as quickly as possible.  Now I'm not downing that notion, I just question, especially when you are in need, is this what God intended when He himself instructs us to be humble?  I'm not talking about a pay if forward kind of thing either.  Maybe I'm afraid of being labeled "a taker". 

The disciple Peter seemed to have a similar issue when Jesus was going to wash is feet.  Peter basically told the Lord no way, you're not going to wash my feet, I should be washing yours.  But when I think about it having this issue is kind of silly because I pray to God with all kinds of requests, and I have faith, which is the reasonable expectation that God will fulfill them if it's his will, therefore, I'm allowing my master to serve me each day.  He supplies all my needs, even many of my wants, and keeps me safe, but heaven forbid I should allow anyone to do something nice for me. 

For example, about a year or so ago my family was going through a financial crisis and a friend from church offered to bring us meals and groceries.  With a thankful heart, I told her I would let her know if I needed anything.  But you know inside I couldn't dare let her help me that way.  I'm pretty sure she could tell because she reminded me that by not allowing her to serve me I was preventing her from serving God.  I didn't get it.  Thanks but no thanks was pretty much my response.  God was trying to bless me, He knew I was in need.  What was I expecting manna to fall from heaven?  Well, because I didn't learn my lesson, God had another offer around the corner, "an offer I couldn't refuse" (Godfather reference).  

One afternoon finding nothing to eat in the fridge, I decided to take my daughter and a friend of mind to Chick-fil-a for lunch.  I wanted to repay my friend for all the free haircuts she was giving to me and my family.  After insisting several times that I would pay for her we placed our orders, when BAM!  My debit card was rejected.  To my utter shame and embarrassment the manager of the store said not to worry lunch was on them.  I wept right there during a busy lunch service at the counter.  As a blubbering idiot I could barley take my food tray back to the table.  God said, "HUMBLE YOURSELF", and I didn't listen so boy did I get a beautiful lesson that day.  When He wants to bless you, darn it, He's gonna bless you!  Then I realized that people are just a conduit of God's love, we need to accept the help when we need it.

See that ugly word pride gets in the way of being humble.  Humility is a complex word and has quite a few meanings.  It's not just about being modest,  respectful or low in rank, importance or status, it also means to have a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, and to be subservient.  That's it -  I don't want to feel insignificant, inferior or subservient.  Jesus did, he took on the very nature of a servant but he also allowed others to serve him. In John 12:3 we read, "Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair." 

Personally I love to serve others; it fills me with joy.  But Jesus taught us not only to give the gift of service but to receive it as well.  And when we are in need, God wants us to humble ourselves to accept the gift of service for it honors our heavenly father.  I'm working on clothing myself in this "new" cloak of humility. I recently read this quote, and forgive me because I do not remember who wrote it but it says, "Disciples must serve and be served because to resist service is to resist Christ.  And disciples must serve and be served, because humble service preaches Christ.  Disciples must serve and be served because Christ will not let us ignore our need."  My prayer is that we will all serve and be served to allow the fullness of Christ to dwell in us. AMEN!

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