Monday, June 20, 2016

Another Insight from Compost: Credit Where Credit is Due
I felt real satisfaction as I was moving that compost pile. As previously discussed, it turned out well. At first I was patting myself on the back, but that was a bit much. I hadn’t invented composting; it is the result of natural processes that God gave us and others figured out how to use. I simply followed their instructions. On the other hand, we put a lot of work, and maybe some skill, into the process: we gathered the materials, prepped, mixed, and turned them, protected the pile from the winter elements, etc.

So what is the proper response to the good results that followed? Scripture makes three things clear.

The first is that we must not lose sight of the ultimate source of good results.  Deuteronomy 8:17-18 is directly on point: “Beware of thinking to yourself, ‘my own strength and the might of my own hand have given me the power to act like this.’ Remember Yahweh your God; he was the one who gave you the strength to act effectively” (New Jerusalem Bible). See also Philippians 2:13.

The second is that we are not to pat congratulate ourselves about our good work. Rather than being cause for commendation, good work is the baseline. Luke 17:9-10 . We are therefore warned to avoid getting puffed up about what we accomplish. Jeremiah 9:22-23, Romans 12:3, Sirach 10:28. Sirach 3:18 puts it well: “the greater you are, the more humbly you should behave” (New Jerusalem Bible).

The third is to thank God for the good that results. Deuteronomy 8:18 is worth repeating on this point: “Remember Yahweh your God; he was the one who gave you the strength to act effectively”(emphasis added).  Thank Him, and acknowledge Him if others acknowledge the results that you were blessed to be a part of.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A.         Murray, Humility, Chapter 6
Highlighted=quote from book
Recap
God Created us to show & share His goodness

Pride interferes w/ the blessings God wants to give us & empower us to give to others

Pride comes from the devil, entered the world at the fall

We must be restored to full humility to regain the connection to the full blessedness God offers

Jesus is the source of restored humility, we get it from and through Him.

Jesus is the model of that fruitful humility; he was perfectly yielded to the Father & the Spirit

We therefore need to prayerfully study Jesus’ life & strive to follow His examples.

We also looked at Jesus’ teachings & saw that:
        
                  Humility brings blessing/effectiveness

                  Humility is manifested in meekness before God & service to others

         We also learned from the lives & teachings of Jesus’ disciples that:

 We can’t defeat pride on our own

 The Holy Spirit will give us what we lack

We need to engage in serious prayer to get those things from the Holy Spirit
Our humility—our malleability before God—is best measured/displayed by how we interact with others

our love to God will be measured by our everyday intercourse with men and the love it displays

humility towards men will be the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real

Humility before God is nothing if not proved in humility before men.

What does that look like, what does it involve?

         Ask for participant input

Murray cites several scriptures to describe that humility:

Romans 12:10
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 12:16
Live together in peace with each other. Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are.

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful

Galatians 5:13
make it your habit to serve one another.

Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 5:21
Place yourselves under each other’s authority out of respect for Christ.

Philippians 2:3-7
3 Nothing is to be done out of jealousy or vanity; instead, out of humility of mind everyone should give preference to others, 4 everyone pursuing not selfish interests but those of others. 5 Make your own the mind of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped.7 But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave

Colossians 3:12-13
2 As the chosen of God, then, the holy people whom he loves, you are to be clothed in heartfelt compassion, in generosity and humility, gentleness and patience.13 Bear with one another; forgive each other if one of you has a complaint against another. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.

What do the highlighted phrases tell us about what is involved in true, human-to-human, humility?

A.    Murray, Humility, Chapter 5,

The humble man seeks at all times to act up to the rule, "In honor preferring one another; Servants one of another; Each counting others better than himself Subjecting yourselves one to another."

divine humility--the nothingness that makes room for God to prove His power.
humility which counts itself nothing, which rejoices in becoming and being counted the least, and only seeks, like Jesus, to be the servant, the helper and comforter of others, even the lowest and unworthiest.

Two of Jesus parables also address that. Let’s dig into them & see what they say.

Matthew 25:31-40
31 'When the Son of man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. 32 All nations will be assembled before him and he will separate people one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. 33 He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.


34 Then the King will say to those on his right hand, "Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take as your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. Humility resulted in exaltation 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome, 36 lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me." Acts of humility in that they required the persons doing them to deviate from their normal plans/role to help others

         Subordination of self to deliver God’s goodness=humility

37 Then the upright will say to him in reply, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we find you sick or in prison and go to see you?" 40 And the King will answer, "In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me." Humility towards man =humility towards God

Luke 10:30-37
Jesus said, 'A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of bandits; they stripped him, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. 31 Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side.

Folks of high status, with important roles to play in executing God’s plan for delivering His goodness

Their preoccupation w/ those roles and lack of openness to the other means of service God placed before them—the opposite of humility—resulted in their being less effective than they could have been

         Still effective, but not as effective as they could have been
        
         And receiving less reward than they could have


33 But a Samaritan traveler who came on him was moved with compassion when he saw him. 34 He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him. 35 Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper and said, "Look after him, and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have."

Low status, but his openness to delivering God’s mercy—the essence of humility—made him highly effective

36 Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbor to the man who fell into the bandits' hands?'

37 He replied, 'The one who showed pity towards him.'

Jesus said to him, 'Go, and do the same yourself.' Jesus ratifies—exalts—the the humble person

Summary of Chapter 6

Humility towards God requires Humility towards our fellow man

Humility towards our fellow man involves:

         Subordinating our desires/emotions to others’

         Active, going out of our way, service


         Great blessing to others & divine reward to us