Blessed… Welcoming a Nobody

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me (Matthew 18:1-5, Common English Bible).

As I was looking for the picture to go with today’s post, I felt myself being drawn, again and again to the picture of the little girl above. She is an anonymous child from some place pictured as part of a YouTube video for a song titled “Nobody’s Child.” I think the reason I kept coming back to this picture is, I could see Jesus calling her over to sit among the disciples.

As I read today’s lesson there are two interpretations that come to my mind. I will talk about one today and one tomorrow. The first idea that came to my mind was really driven by the line, “Those who humble themselves…” In Jesus’ day a child was quite simply the product of his/her father. There identity came far more often than not, from their father.

As a boy grew, he gained more and more of his own identity as he accomplished more. When he learned a trade, most often after apprenticing with his father, he became known by his trade. If he gained notoriety, good or bad, it enhanced his identity, also for good or bad.

For little girls nothing usually changed much. She gained her identity from her relationship with her father until she married. Once married her identity was tied to her relationship with her husband. It was only when she had children, particularly male children that she gained any self-identity. If she never produced that male child, she never really gained an identity of her own. When her husband passed away she went to the home of her eldest male child. And, once again, her identity was usually tied to her relationship with another man, this time, her son.

The idea that we become like a little child is, in and of itself, a humbling experience. When we become a child, we don’t know quite as much. Things are simpler. But for today, we lose our identity. We are humbled because we are no longer our own. We gain our identity from our relationship with God. That is, quite simply, things are no longer about us, they are about God. We humble ourselves before God. Everything is about God.

It is a humbling idea. If we are to have a relationship with God, it is a relationship where we are servants. It is a relationship where we trust. It is a relationship where we accept life in very simple terms.

How do you demonstrate your humility toward God?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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