Sermon 15-10-18 Humility


Humility is the topic of the reading for this week’s devotion. It is a fundamental Christian value. Benedictine monks had to promise humility for entry into their monasteries. Even though this may not appeal to many today, humility is necessary for a peaceful society and it is a value which seems to run contrary to the everyday values of our competitive society:

Mark 10: 35 to 45:

[35] And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. [36] And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? [37] They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. [38] But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? [39] And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: [40] But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared. [41] And when the ten heard [it], they began to be much displeased with James and John. [42] But Jesus called them [to him], and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. [43] But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: [44] And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. [45] For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Is anybody surprised that the ten were displeased with John and James? In a Christian society it shall not be as it is in the world, with rulers of authority, based on brute strength, charisma or money. Whosoever will be great in a Christian society shall be your minister and whosoever will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

Fidel Castro was once asked whether it bothers him that people in the US call him a dictator. He replied, ‘I am a dictator to myself and a slave to my people.’

The Hebrew word mashal can mean to rule as in Gen. 3: 16, ‘… he shall rule over thee,’ or to be alike, as in Job 30: 19, ‘He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes.’ Christian society is a society of equality, people of no status in society who share everything in neighbourly love without sin, without thinking or weighing up. A society of love.