In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
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3 “Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
5 “Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, 3 and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
When the disciples asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus called a little child to sit among them as his answer. Our world and culture tend to value children more highly than the culture Jesus lived in, but we’d still be unlikely, left to our natural impulses, to answer a “greatest” question as Jesus did. And we’d surely struggle to regard as “blessed” or “happy” (the language Jesus used could support both meanings) those he mentioned in Matthew 5.
King Jesus, you could have dazzled us. Instead, you came to an obscure village, lived among ordinary working folk, and served instead of demanding your rights. Help me learn deep inside from your model of humble service. Amen.
Some of my most humbling experiences come at the hands of teenagers (and not just my own, although that happens too). As a youth pastor, often I’m met with moments that leave me humbled either from not knowing the latest Tik Tok trend or favorite show on Disney. And these students are quick to educate me on what I’m clearly missing out on. HA!
But there are other ways that I’m humbled by our amazing youth. When I think I’ve got all the answers, I can be stumped by one of their profound yet simple questions about life and faith. I’m the seminary student, I’m the one close to a Master’s in Divinity, surely I should be able to answer all questions fielded by the middle school peanut gallery. Any time I start to feel that way I’m usually handed a piece of humble pie.
What I love about these questions that stump me from time to time are where they come from. These aren’t theologians trying to outdo one another or anonymous commenters debating on social media. These questions and insights come from unassuming places of discovery and curiosity. These humble quests for knowledge bring me to a place of much-needed humility.
One Sunday morning I was met with a doozy of a question from one of my students about heartache, pain, and how God would fix it. Suddenly all my scholarly knowledge didn’t quite seem adequate. I knew the origin of a question like this one. It was one I had asked God many times before. And I imagine you have had a similar one yourself from time to time. How can God fix the mess that is in my life right now, when I feel hopeless?
Something beautiful happened when I admitted I didn’t know all the answers. I’ll never forget the look on this student’s face when I admitted my humanness. “I don’t know,” I said, “but I know that I don’t need to know all the answers to know God is still with us, still moving, and still loves us unconditionally, always.” A relief came over them. A realization that it’s okay not to have all the answers.
I’m not “greater in the kingdom of heaven” because I preach a sermon. (Spoiler alert: that goes for all our pastors as well.) When we serve one another in humility with kind curiosity and not critical judgments we experience the blessedness Jesus promised. When we can admit we don’t know and humble ourselves to the curiosity of a child, or a middle schooler on Sunday morning, the real work of God’s blessed joy begins. Jesus, the greatest teacher of all, knew that even knowing all the answers himself, what mattered most was sitting with the low in spirit and serving the hopeless.
* N. T. Wright, Matthew for Everyone, Part 1. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 37.
** Barclay M. Newman and Philip C. Stine, comment on Matthew 5:5 in A Handbook on the Gospel of Matthew. New York: United Bible Societies, 1988, p. 110.