By Elaine Knudtson
“When a Child is Born” sung by Il Divo
The Messiah as a Child
“Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Phil. 2:6-8. Choosing to come as a baby, born of a woman of a working class family stands as an example to us of humility.
Dear Lord, we are humbled by your willingness to set aside heaven’s glory to be born in a manger. You did not take on the trappings of our world, but modelled the way of humility and self-sacrifice. Make us open to consider how we can follow His example.
“He called a little child to him and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’” Matt.18:2-5
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” Isa. 7:17.
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders, and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” Isa. 9:6.
“So man will be brought low and mankind humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled, but the Lord Almighty will be exalted by His justice, and the holy God will show himself holy by His righteousness.“ Isa. 5:15
Pastor Jones was a humble man who willingly took on all tasks, no matter how small. At one wedding, he was the usher, pastor, pianist and janitor. While we appreciated his enthusiasm, his willingness to say yes to every request meant that he would often be over-committed and double-booked, resulting in frustration. He had to learn to say no and prioritize requests so that he could meet the greatest needs of his congregation and give others an opportunity to serve.
Jesus Christ provides a unique model of humility—the Word, through whom the world was created, set it aside and became an ordinary human. We identify with the needs of others, just as Jesus identified with us. Christianity has been at the forefront of relief efforts around the world. The acts of charity begin with the most vulnerable in society. Hospitals, schools, and homeless shelters were often established by people of faith in response to God’s admonition— “Whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me.” Matt.25:40 Humility does not mean doing everything for everyone, but rather it begins with an examination our talents and gifts as we look for ways we can best serve.
Points to Ponder
- What unique talents and gifts and interests do you have that could be used to serve others?
- Servanthood does not mean doing everything, but it may mean not being recognized for your efforts. Does that change how you choose to spend your time?
- How do you feel when you serve others—when does it become a burden?
O Lord you showed us that true leadership involves servanthood and humility. Even when we are frustrated by a seeming lack of appreciation, give us a willing heart to serve those in need. Reveal to us how we can do the greatest good with our interests, talents and finances.