September 7, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member and Author
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" Philippians 2:3
Recently, we had the privilege of housing three children and one adult from Uganda. Medi and Ronald are 9, Danny 12, and Uncle Jeff is probably 26 or 27. Some things are universal. When the boys were getting their showers, playing games and telling jokes, they seemed like the other children who frequent our house. They were very polite with their, "May I be excused from the table please?" and mannerly with no arguments when I said, "Bedtime."
However, when it was time for bed, they allowed me to stay and listen to their bedtime prayers. They didn't ask for toys, new clothes, better grades or even healing. These children who travel months at a time, sleeping in a different home every night thanked God for a warm place to sleep and the opportunity to serve. They asked God to bless the host home and the members of the choir. Then they asked for a comfortable night's rest so they might better serve tomorrow.
There is a growing trend in our churches away from this humble spirit of servant hood. It's called pride and we are teaching it to our children. In the past week I've heard three sets of parents say, "Honey, I know you understand because you catch on quickly, but for other children it's just more difficult," and "Oh it's not like you get bad grades like other kids, you can skip school this morning to be with me," and the one I hear the most, "I don't know why she seems so worried about her looks, we've always told her she's a pretty girl."
We are all well-wishing good parents wanting the best for our kids. But maybe it's time to take a mirror to our motives and ask what we are really teaching our children? Are we teaching them to have humble spirits and to serve others?
Today, like James 4:10 teaches, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up," I ask the Lord to humble my heart and the hearts of all the good-intentioned parents who unexpectedly teach pride.
My prayer for today:
Father, I ask that you shine Your brilliant search light on my soul and search my heart for wrong motives. Point out the times when I speak to my children in ways that make them feel better than others. Lord, we are all your children. Don't let me play favorites, even with my own.
Pray and ask God to help you track your conversations today to see if pride is getting in the way of serving God and others?
What have I done in the past week to serve others?
What statements do I make that show pride in my heart?
Where does God want me to serve today?
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6 (NIV)
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalm 25:9 (NIV)
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 (NIV)
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Tuesday, 07 September 2004.