Sunday, December 29, 2013

How Low Can You Go?

And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord. (Nehemiah 3:5, ESV)

It was a vulnerable time in Israel's history. Part of the nation had returned to their land after a 70 year exile. Jerusalem, the capital city, was in ruins. The walls had been destroyed and the gates were burned, leaving her open to attack from any and all enemies. Piles of rubble blocked paths. The condition of Jerusalem was providing comic relief to the folks surrounding her.

When Nehemiah heard this news, it broke his heart, propelled him to his knees, and compelled him to get some time off from his day job (cup bearer to King Artexerxes) to do something about the situation.

He travelled hundreds of miles, surveyed the dire situation in the middle of the night and then challenged the people, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the able to tackle this (re)building project.

Nehemiah 3 is a list of names-those who joined forces to get the job done. And a notable few who refused to work on rebuilding the walls and gates. Like the nobles from Tekoa.

And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord. 

The wording is very interesting. Would not stoop to serve their Lord....

I think we make a mistake when we forget that everything we do can and should be service to the Lord. Grand church and missionary endeavors, as well as scrubbing the toilets or working shoulder to shoulder with other believers. Working in our homes, or at places of employment, playing or doing church stuff-it all can qualify as service to the Lord.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

We also make the mistake in thinking that we shouldn't have to stoop to do certain menial tasks. But, there is nothing too low for us to do in the service of God.

I think of Jesus Christ and the summation of His stooping in Philippians 2...

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

See that downward progression?

No Reputation
Shameful death on the cross.

How low can you go? 

We never can reach the scope of Jesus Christ's stooping. And we never should stop trying. We should gladly stoop, not stand on our own rights and position. Compared to Christ, we have neither. Nothing to sneeze at.

Paul challenged the Philippians to...

Be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

To be like Christ. That's our call.

Do you want to be remembered forever as the one who wouldn't stoop to serve your Lord? Or as the one who stooped-serving the Lord while serving their brothers?