Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A PARABLE FROM POETS CORNER - CROSS PURPOSES 140

CROSS PURPOSES 140

A PARABLE FROM POETS CORNER

In London’s Westminster Abbey there’s an area known as Poet’s Corner. It’s a place where memorial stones have been erected to honour the English Poets. Selwyn Hughes, writing about this in his bible notes – Every Day with Jesus – has a sharp observation about one of these stones.

“Not everything written there is admirable, and I confess a particular dislike for the memorial to John Milton, which reads thus:

“This bust of the author of Paradise Lost was placed here by William Benson Esquire, one of the two Auditors of the Imprest to his Majesty King George the Second, and the formerly Surveyor General of Works to his Majesty King George the First.””

Bit rich isn’t it? It’s not about John Milton the poet at all. It’s about the donor of the stone, about his not so hidden agenda to make a name for himself – to be noticed!

This is the exact thing Jesus was warning about in the Sermon on the Mount.

Matt 6:1-4
“Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men.
I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Matt 6:5-6
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Matt 6:16-18
When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

I won’t speak for you but this business of putting myself in the centre of a story is something I do well.
- Casually let drop about some cause I’m involved with.
- Mentioning names or areas where I help.
- Referring to a sermon, inviting your comment…

I can give you lots of personal examples of blowing my own trumpet and big noting myself. Humility and humanity rarely sit well with each other. (My friends would say that humble and Dutch don’t mesh well ever!) I’m tarred with the brush that’s dipped in “Adam and Eve”. Just like when they rebelled, self kicks in – self-promotion, self-pity, self-effacing, self-protection, self-hatred, self-praise – and it’s ugly. Selfishness is ugly.

Anyway, check out this little text:

Philippians 2:5-11
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Now there’s a model to aspire to! Here’s the one who says “Follow Me”… Love as I have loved… I have given you an example…

You’ve tried? You know you can’t keep it up? You don’t trust yourself to keep that vow to follow him? Good, good, good! A great point has arrived in your relationship with God. How come?

When you despair of doing this humble stuff, and “being humble in heart,” tell him so. He will fix you! He’s already lived your journey of failure on your behalf – without failing. As the coming, living, suffering, dying, dead, raised story becomes your story, his forgiveness is yours. BUT ALSO, his Holy Spirit power to keep it together is yours as well.

There’s hope see. But it’s not in you, or in the strength and determination of your vowing. It’s in HIM. It’s always about Him.

Bless You.

Fred

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home