Being Willing to Be Insignificant

I was talking with a counselor yesterday.  He was telling me about the needs of significance and security.  He said that men have the greatest need for significance while women have the greatest need for security.

This was not new to me.  I learned this in Bible college.  I think I learned it my first year of Bible college, in fact, and I’ve never forgotten it.  But it caught my attention at that moment in a way it hadn’t caught it before.  It caught my attention because it touches on something I’ve been thinking about lately: how I should understand myself in the Kingdom work of God.

I think it was Oswald Chambers who got me thinking along these lines.  In his June 21st My Utmost for His Highest entry (which I would have read on vacation), Chambers says this:

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It’s that blessed are the poor in spirit comment that got me (again, on my vacation!).  That line, of course, comes as part of Jesus’ opening beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount.  I knew that line.  It seems like I’ve always known that line.  But I’ve also disliked that line.  I disliked the idea of being poor, whether in spirit or otherwise.  Poverty (again, material or physical) is for other people, not me.  That’s what I thought, anyway.  What I realized when I read Chamber’s devotion, though, is that it is for me, that I’ve missed a lot by rejected this poorness in spirit, that I am not living in a blessed way.

Several other Scriptural statements came up with supported this notion.  Here are a few of them:

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And that’s just three.  I could toss out several more about being nothing, not being conceited, being a servant, and many more phrases/ideas which fit in here.  It’s not just the Sermon on the Mount which calls me to poverty.  It is the entire word of God.

This is similar, I think, to something else I heard in Bible college.  One professor told the class on one occasion that the Jewish rabbis used to teach people to carry two rocks in their pockets.  On one rock would be written the phrase, “For me the world was created” (or something else like that, something which put the person at the center of the universe), and on the other would be written, “I am dust” (or something similarly debasing).  The person should then pull out whichever rock their attitude needed at any particularly time.

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For a more detailed account of this teaching, go here.

 I think this idea is true.  Jesus has exalted us in incredible ways; we truly can understand that the world was created for us.  But Jesus has also called us to humility.  Again, I don’t think I’ve had that humility in my life.  Not truly.  I’m willing to pursue it, though.  I’m willing to be poor in spirit (I’ve been praying for it, actually, and God has been answering that prayer, putting me into situations which make me feel so poor).  I’m willing to overcome that inborn and inbred desire for significance to be insignificant.

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