One statistic that I often share when talking about the Front Porch Initiative is the statistic that self-centeredness has increased 30% in the past 30 years among college students according to a study conducted by San Diego State University. This narcissism has impacted our ability to show empathy and will continue to have an impact on our communities. That’s why deepening our relationships and getting to know others is so important.
Today in Matthew 20 we read about a mother putting her own desires first for her children above God.
Jesus had just got done telling his disciples on their journey to Jerusalem that he would be leaving them soon. That He would be mocked, flogged, and crucified. Still, just like we can do, just like I can do, we think of ourselves and what’s in it for us. Not what is eternally most important. Sadly, the next story shared in Matthew 20 after Jesus foretelling His death is the request of power/position in Heaven and being able to sit on the right and left of Jesus.
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus gave his life for us. Every way He physically lived was for us. Every living word written is for us. In a world and time where being great is about self promotion or pride. Jesus has been saying to be great in His kingdom we must be least. Reflecting personally easily brings tears to my eyes. Even in this day as I on reflected Matthew 20 I made so much of this day about me. I focus on things I may have to do for work, whether or not my favorite team will win, how my children are behaving. Not really thinking about what is truly important. In listening to Grace To You by John McArthur on this chapter I think about the question John Mcarthur was asked many times, ” Who will be those who receive the greatest reward in Heaven?’ He will say, ” Those who suffered the most in life for the cause of Jesus Christ.”
I can only repent and pray for Jesus to work on my selfishness. To grab hold of my heart and mind as I look not to myself or this world, but to Him. Put my pride in check. Here are a few reminder verses that can remind me God’s view on pride.
Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
Proverbs 16:5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, he will not go unpunished.
That in Psalm 31:23 it says He recompenses the proud or in Psalm 18:27 the proud will be brought low.
So instead of a prideful heart, I know I need to be more humble. Micah 6:8 says He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Proverbs 15:33 says The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.
Colossians 3:12 says, ” So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;”
So here are a few verses to help us put our pride in check. That or worldly desires will mean nothing next to our place in Heaven. I pray to always be a servant leader without asking… what’s in it for me? I pray for us to live with humility and selflessness knowing and trusting that God has a perfect plan for all of us. Our greatest plans won’t ever compare to the reward in Heaven through a selfless, humble, and faithful life.
God told us it wouldn’t be easy. We need to continue to trust and have faith in His plans for us! What do you need to let go of? To humbly ask Him to work on your heart. To put away our earthly desires and spread His good news!
Have a blessed Tuesday in all you do.