The Power of Humility
Have you talked about Jesus with anyone or invited anyone to church this week?
This week we’re studying the power of humility. Can you think of a time you acted especially humble? What about a time you wished you had acted humbly? If you’re comfortable, please share.
1. Dusty reminded us on Sunday that humility is essential for compassion. If you think everyone is beneath you like dirt, it’s really hard to care about them! Likewise, if you value others above yourself (Php.2:3), it’s natural to care for them.
Consider Jesus’s teaching about humility to the attendees of a dinner party. First, he addresses the guests, and then he addresses the host. Look for any mention of humility and/or compassion.
Luke 14:7-14 (English Standard Version)
7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
As you imagine Jesus’ story playing out, with someone being demoted down to the lowest place and someone else being raised up, how do you picture it?
Notice Jesus doesn’t say it’s bad to hold the place of honor; it’s bad to presume you hold it. Why do you think it’s bad to presume you hold a place of honor?
Jesus makes the connection between humility and compassion as he addresses the host. He tells him to invite the lowly—those who cannot repay him, the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. In your own words, why do you think this is for the best?
2. Dusty also taught us that humility makes us grateful. Just think, an entitled person can’t enjoy caviar without complaint, but a humble person enjoys leftovers.
Read the following passage in 1 Corinthians 15. In it, Paul explains the gospel message. The message, in itself, doesn’t deal with humility or gratitude directly. But notice Paul’s humility and gratitude at the fact that he was given a chance to preach the gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:3-11 (New Living Translation)
3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. 9 For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.
10 But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. 11 So it makes no difference whether I preach or they preach, for we all preach the same message you have already believed.
How does Paul express his humility and gratitude in this passage? Does he use any imagery or figures of speech?
One very humble statement is “I passed on to you…what had also been passed on to me” (v.3) Humble people aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel. If it’s perfect, they leave it alone. What good things have been passed on to you that you can pass on in like manner?
Bringing it Home
Notice the statement in v.10: “Whatever I am now, it is all because God has poured out his special favor on me.” Apply this to your life. Think of two things you “are now” because of God’s grace—two things that mark you and identify you as a disciple of Jesus. If you can, please share.
Are you involved in any Bible studies this week? Please share so we can pray for God to open the eyes of the heart.