I’ve been noticing the last two Sundays in the readings from Luke, some of the things that matter most to Jesus seem to matter little for too many Christians today. Last week Jesus told the story about some who will be surprised to find themselves locked out of the Kingdom, even though they assumed merely dining with Jesus and listening to him teach was enough to gain entry. While physical presence before Jesus is important, it is not nearly as important as the lifestyle, choices and attitudes we hold as Christians. In other words, we can attend as many liturgies as we want and we can even claim to be listening to God constantly, when it comes down to it, it is our choices, actions and lifestyle that matters most to Jesus.
In today’s Gospel Jesus places great emphasis on humility. With all the time and energy Jesus puts into blasting the hypocrites, haughty and proud, it isn’t hard to see that what matters most to Jesus is the humble. If Jesus puts this much emphasis on humility, it seems that humility must be a large part of what makes someone a Christian.
There are many who claim Christianity, who can cite scripture, protest others actions and views, assuming their high standing in Jesus eyes, but are severely lacking the humility, transparency and honesty that Jesus demands throughout the Gospel. It seems that, even though Jesus spends an awful lot of time preaching humility, fewer Christians really see it as an important value in a Christian life. We don’t have to look far to see some pretty arrogant and hypocritical people claiming to be Christian, while offering very little evidence of any humility at all.
Last week’s Gospel about those being locked out of the kingdom should be a huge red flag for all Christians. We should not assume our status in God’s eyes merely because we are “in” Jesus presence and have heard his teachings. We may know those teachings well and feel we are huge advocates for Jesus, “We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets,” but it is much more than all that.
I think we better be sure. It seems as though humility is the only way to see ourselves as Christ sees us. Humility is not being a doormat, it is being and knowing who you really are in the eyes of God and not how others see us or especially in our over inflated vision of ourselves
Remember the old song, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love?” I think they will also know we are Christians by our humility.
Rev. James Kirby