Do you want God to do something great in your life? Are you in a place where you need God’s grace? Then I want to encourage you to get as low as you can.
The scriptures exhort us to “clothe (ourselves) with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
As the apostle Peter wrote these words, I imagine a picture ran through his mind — a picture of Jesus stooping down to wash the disciples feet. In biblical times, the job of washing feet belonged to the servants. It was not a job for a rabbi or teacher. And yet on the night he was handed over to death, Jesus clothed himself humbly with a towel around his waist and washed dirty feet.
Read what the Gospel of John says right before this scene happened, “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God, and was returning to God” (John 13:3). Jesus knew He was God. He understood his rightful claim to have all authority and power. With the full knowledge of his divine origin and destiny, Jesus bowed down and washed the feet of men. The hands that would bleed for our sins washed the feet that would flee at his arrest. The Master became the servant, taking up the basin and towel. Their feet weren’t any dirtier than their hearts were though. At this point, the disciples were still full of pride, insecurity, ambition, and jealousy.
We live in a culture that tells us to push our way to the top and to look out for No. 1. Jesus, however, gave us an example of going to the bottom and becoming a servant. This is the way to become great in the eyes of God. If we seek to exalt ourselves, sooner of later God will humble us. If we humble ourselves before God however, He will exalt us. He will elevate us.
Peter tells us that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. When we walk in pride, we cut ourselves off from God’s ability to bless and provide grace for us. We must always come to God with empty hands. Our pride will get us nowhere before God. It is often hard for us humans to admit our need. It is also hard for us to put others before ourselves. We always think of moving up the ladder — never down. We constantly look for ways to push ahead of the pack, instead of seeking to help others become more successful.
And yet when we humble ourselves and put others first, we open our lives to God’s grace in a supernatural way. Think about Mother Teresa, the blessed sister who died a number of years back. How did she become such a powerful voice in our world? How did she become so respected? Was it through her great education or political clout?
No, Mother Teresa became great and so well known by caring for the unlovable in India. She took in the diseased and destitute. She loved those with AIDS, and took in the orphans. She shared the love of Jesus in such a profound way. She humbled herself for the sake of others, but God elevated her in the eyes of the world.
I once heard a story about a group of North American ministers who toured her facilities. One of the men was overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, and smells in her home. He turned to one of the other pastors and said, “I wouldn’t take a million dollars to do this.”
Mother Teresa overheard the comment, and turned to the gentleman with a great big smile. “I wouldn’t either she said.” Now that is true humility and servant hood. And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at email@example.com or 912-634-2960.