Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wisdom: In Humility

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
-Proverbs 16:18

Before we got married and moved off to St. Louis, my pastor, a very wise man whom I look up to a lot, told me this Proverb. He was warning me against being to proud to seek help when I needed it.

This is a difficult thing, especially for men. This is not to bash men; it is simply to recognize how one of our strengths can become a very big weakness. It is good for a man to leave his mother and father and start a family with his wife. It is good for a man to provide for the needs of his wife and children. It is good for a man to be the head of his own household.

This is the place that God has given to man. It is one of leadership, one of provision and a special kind of care; it is both physical and spiritual. But, if it is done in a prideful way or with a haughty spirit that does not recognize from where this responsibility comes, it will doubtless fail.

This Proverb is especially important for pastors to consider. From the time I began my training at the seminary, through my fieldwork responsibilities, at my vicarage, in my preaching and teaching, I have been complimented and encouraged in numerous ways. I am thankful that God has, through the means of supportive saints in His Church, confirmed in my mind and heart the vocation that I have planned to undertake. But, if I lose sight of the purpose and ultimate goal of my calling, that is faithful Word and Sacrament ministry, if I take my eyes off of Jesus who is the Author and Perfector of my faith, I will certainly fall.

This is not only true in pastoral ministry, but in every vocation of God’s saints. If you are a mother or a father, keep your eyes on Jesus. If you are a manager or a leader, keep your eyes on Jesus. If you are a mailman, carpenter, accountant, trash man, CEO, or a burger flipper, keep you eyes on Jesus in all that you do.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23

If we take our eyes off of our Lord and focus them on ourselves, or even others, there is the warning that Pride is lurking on the path, beckoning to lead you off of the right way and one the way of destruction.

Wisdom is not interested in pride or making spirits haughty, true Wisdom, Divine Wisdom, humbles us with the realization that we are totally dependant on the loving-kindness and mercy of our God in Jesus Christ.

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Lord of all Wisdom, break down the high walls of our pride and the crumbling foundations of our haughty spirits that we may not fall into destruction, but walk in the counsels of Your Wisdom. In all our work, turn our eyes to Christ, that we may never forget the blessing of inheritance that He has won for us. Make us thankful for our total dependence on Your loving-kindness and Your merciful guidance, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
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