One of the repeated messages that I love in the Bible is this. We cannot control how faithful someone else is. We only have control of how faithful we will choose to be this day. In the Gospel reading from this morning, Jesus tells us to take the log out of our own eye before taking the speck out of someone else’s. In other words, let’s look within first, then we look without.
But the reading today that stuck with me was our Old Testament, from 1 Chronicles 30: 1, 10-12. Listen to what we are told:
1 Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover to the LORD the God of Israel…..10 So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun; but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. 11 Only a few from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the officials commanded by the word of the LORD.
I think what struck me was when the invitation to come and to celebrate the Passover was given, the messagers were laughed at. That’s how hardened everyone had become. That’s how bad it had gotten.
A few thought, they humbled themselves, and they came to Jerusalem. The hand of God was upon them, and restoration happened to the people in the Passover that year.
I think we see two contrasting images there, one of pride (and laughter) at the invitation of God. And one of humility to come before God and reenter into His covenant. Pride and humility. Two paths laid out before us today. Which one will we choose?
Today, may we be like those that humble themselves before God. In this act, they found God and they found life.
We can be tempted to walk the path of this world and culture, one of pride and arrogance, one that is self-centered and self-justified. One that seeks to exalt self over others. And we may feel justified in that, or protected in that, but we won’t ever feel truly alive in that.
Or we choose the path of humble service to God and others. It may look funny to our world and to our culture, and they may even scoff at us.
But you know what we will find today in that humble path?
Today, may we choose that right path.