I am struggling today with motivation. It’s been an off day already (where the words “Stop hitting your brother and no chewing on the chairs either!” were uttered in the same sentence at 8 o’clock this morning) and I have idea of what to write about. When the topic is “Who is the Greatest?” and then Matthew Kelly talks about “let the little children come to me” and all I can think about is “I really need a break from little kids”, well, it’s left me not knowing where to go from here. But… I will give it a try (in the middle of about 10,000 interruptions I’m sure J )
Chapter 13: Who is the Greatest?
I found Matthew Kelly’s history lesson on women and children to be both interesting and horrifying. The idea that children were left to die after they were born is inconceivable to my mind. Of course, in a world where 4,000 children die a day in our own country from abortion for the same reasons that were listed in the book (deformities, poverty, disabilities, wrong gender, status, illegitimacy, and purely selfish reasons), perhaps it shouldn’t surprise and shock me near as much as it does. After all, there have always been people who don’t respect life… both then and now.
But Christ came to teach that all life was sacred. His teaching that the first shall be last and the last shall be first was revolutionary. No longer was your worth tied into your wealth or social status… you were important simply because you are a child of God. I imagine that back then, just as now, it was a very difficult teaching for people to accept. There are people still today that refuse to accept it. There are some that want to be elevated above others… who want to be at the top calling the shots. They insist that their place in society makes them that much more important than anyone else. But they couldn’t be more wrong.
One of the key words that stuck out to me in this chapter was self-centered. In our “me” society I think that this is the key to understanding the major sins of today. We focus so much on ourselves that we put ourselves first and in the process say and do things to further our own self interests. Jesus says that “whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40) but on the flip side we have to remember that this applies to both the good and the bad. If we treat others well, we treat Christ well. If we treat others poorly or sin against them, we also do this to Christ. If we elevate ourselves above others, we are telling Christ that we are above him too. That’s a problem.
Point to Ponder: The poor, the needy, the hungry, the lonely, the ignorant, and the afflicted are God’s special friends.
Matthew Kelly reminds us that we can’t separate Christ’s spiritual teachings from his social teachings. If we want to be Christ’s followers we must follow all his teachings including those difficult ones like loving our neighbor (even that one we don’t like) and caring for the poor and downtrodden. We can’t say we love Jesus when we are unwilling to love those he loves too. It is our duty to show his love through our deeds. We are called to social justice and that means putting others’ needs above our own and taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves.
Verse to Live: “Live justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
What does it mean to walk humbly with God? It means that we don’t put ourselves above others. It means that we recognize that we too are sinful and we too fall short in the eyes of God and yet each and every one of us are loved beyond all measure. This love is not because of who we were born to, where we work, how much money we make, what our skin color is, where we are in our faith journey, or any other qualifier. It simply means that we recognize that we are loved not because of who we are but because of who God is. It means that we extend this same love to everyone we meet- lifting each other up and helping each other grow closer to God in our journey towards heaven.
Question to Consider: Do your values align with Jesus’ values?
I try with all my heart to align my values with Christ’s values. I try to show this through all that I say and do but I know that sometimes I fail. I pray regularly that I will see others through Christ’s eyes and that they will feel his love through me.
Your Turn: Are there people who you feel God values less than others? Why do you feel this way? Do you judge others as not as worthy? Do you feel superior to others? If so, how can you change that mindset? What can you do in your life to walk humbly with God?
Prayer: Jesus, set the child within me free so that I can be more childlike with every passing day, and open the eyes of my soul that I may see your children all around me.