Humble Servants

Reading 1 / Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise. Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins.

  • Most us have heard “use the gifts that God has given you”.  Gifts (or talents) are a very special thing.  When used for God, they can produce Miracles.  When used for our glory, we can lose focus and actually hurt ourselves and/or others.  God is telling us via Sirach to “play within our limits” and let Him do the incredible.  We are to do the best that we can in honoring Him via using our talents, but we are to be humble and not push things too far – especially into other areas.  For example, a police officer in Chattanooga is good at being a cop, but not so much as a singer.  Listen.  Trust.  Obey.  How can we listen to God better to understanding what He wants us to do with our Gifts?  How can we hear the still small voice if we don’t have an attentive ear to Him?

Responsorial Psalm / Psalm 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11

R. (cf. 11b) God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
The just rejoice and exult before God; they are glad and rejoice. Sing to God, chant praise to his name; whose name is the LORD. R.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God gives a home to the forsaken; he leads forth prisoners to prosperity. R.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance; you restored the land when it languished; your flock settled in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy. R.

  • Ironically, our nation was founded primarily on “freedoms” – a big part of that belonging to Religion.  In the early days of America, you could worship as you liked.  It was the “land of opportunity”.  Prosperity awaits those who are industrious enough to find it.  The reality is that while some have struck it rich in the United States of America, most have struggled generation after generation.  If your focus is on this world, you  will get disappointed.  This world can never fill the void that only He can.  “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”  Matthew 20:16  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”  Matthew 5:3
  • Widows and orphans – did you know that 80% of married women will one day be widows?  Or that 90% of all runaways come from a fatherless home?  God will provide for all of us, but as Brandon Heath’s song/video shows us, we need to look and serve on a grander scale than we are running at now.  How can we open our hearts to the needs of the widows and orphans around us?  Is there someone that we know today that we can reach-out to and serve – perhaps a widow, a fatherless child, an orphan?

Reading 2 / Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24A

Brothers and sisters: You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them. No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.

  • 90 Minutes in Heaven” tells the story about Don Piper.  Don is an ordinary man who died in a car accident, spent 90 minutes in a twisted car wreck while someone prayed over him, and then awoke to share his story of Heaven.  “Heaven is for Real” tells the story about Colton Burpo who as a child died while sick, went to Heaven, met a bunch of people there (including Jesus and his deceased twin sister), and then awoke to share his story of Heaven.  “Miracles from Heaven” tells the story about how Annabel Beam was diagnosed with two (2) incurable disorders and was miraculously healed by Jesus and the Angels after falling into an old, hollowed-out tree.  The images and mysteries that they share will give you a glimpse into the infinite God and His beautiful home in Heaven.  I died when I was 7 and met Christ.  He told me to come back and that it wasn’t my time yet.  I can see it as it was yesterday.  Heaven is unlike anything you have ever imagined, but, when your imagination isn’t allowing you to believe in something that you yourself cannot see in-person, rest on the stories of others.  It’s real – I promise you it’s real.  What keeps us from believing in Heaven?  Why don’t we let our imaginations help us to believe sometimes – like when we were children?

Alleluia / Matthew 11:29AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. R.

  • Give it away.  God can handle it.  I love kids’ songs from Vacation Bible School (VBS).  The songs are usually “catchy”.  There is a song called, “Give It Away“, that is an awesome reminder of how wide God’s love is.  If we could let go of the heaviness that rests on our shoulders from the world and fall back having the Faith of a child (like Jesus calls us to in Matthew 18:3), we could then give it away a little faster; a little easier.  What are we holding onto that we never would have held onto as a child?  What is stopping us from having the Faith of a child?  What is Jesus asking of us?

Gospel / Luke 14:1, 7-14

On a Sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever invited the poor to anything.  Maybe Church, but never my home.  Sure, there are people in our lives who we’ve invited over who don’t have much; but, they weren’t “poor” like that.  At best, they were in a tough spot or patch.  Jesus calls us to something more.  He doesn’t want us to be charitable if we’re expecting something in return.  A “thank you” is nice, but it shouldn’t be the reason for us helping another.  Liberty Mutual Insurance Co has a really sweet commercial about “paying it forward“.  It captures the moment and I think it captures the Message that Christ has been sending us since we were born into this world.  What can we do today to help another who cannot return the favor?  How can we do this with our focus on Christ?

 

Reflection of the Week / Song by Brandon Heath:

“Give Me Your Eyes”

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breathe in the familiar shock
Of confusion
And chaos

All those people goin’ somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Yeah
Yeah
Yeah
Yeah

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work, he’s buyin’ time

All those people goin’ somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Yeah
Yeah
Yeah
Yeah

I’ve been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just move and pass me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way You’ve seen the people all along

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

Give me Your Eyes (Give me Your eyes for just one second)
Lord, give me Your eyes (Give me Your eyes so I can see)
Everything (Everything that I keep missing)
(Give me Your love for humanity)
Give me Your heart (Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted)
For the broken hearted (The ones that are far beyond my reach)
Give me Your heart (Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten)
Lord, give me Your eyes (Give me Your eyes so I can see)
Yeah
Yeah
Yeah
Yeah

Yeah
Yeah
Yeah
Yeah

Published by Gregg McDonald

Gregg McDonald is a Founding Member of Men As Christ (MAC); an int'l Christian Faith Group that shares the Word of God with ~30,000 people around the world in 114 countries. He is all about Faith, Family, and Love and enjoys the opportunity to share God's love with everyone.

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