All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud,  but shows favor to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.—1 Peter 5:5,6

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.—Isaiah 53:2

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

…The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”—Matthew 21:4-9

As a pastor, I have a different experience than most people on Sunday mornings.  I don’t go to church for what I might get out of it; I go to offer something.  Because of this, I don’t evaluate the worship service the way most people do.  I’m almost always thinking about how the morning is affecting other people, rather than how it’s affecting me.  Are they getting something out of it?  Are they encountering God in worship?  Did that announcement take too long?  Does the sermon make sense?  Are they inspired?  Are they bored?   Are they offended?  Are they moved?  Are they glad they’re here?  Do they realize what a blessing it is to be in the presence of God among their brothers and sisters in Christ?

Every once in a while, though, I am caught off guard, and a worship service ministers deeply to my spirit.  (This is usually when someone else is preaching).  That is what happened this past Sunday.  I left church feeling that my soul had been refreshed in the presence of God.  And the primary reason was two humble men.

The Bible has a lot to say about humility.  In the above verses, it says that God is against proud people but favors humble people.  It says that Jesus was not a physically impressive person, not someone who called attention to himself.  And it says that when He entered Jerusalem the week before he was killed, he came humbly, riding a donkey instead of a white stallion, praised by simple people and ignored by the powerful and important.  We celebrate that event every year on Palm Sunday, which is coming up this week.

Jesus was humble.  He served.  He lifted others up.  He did not seek the spotlight.  He did not need attention or praise for doing His Father’s will, although He deserved it.  He lived His human life with the goal of honoring God and blessing others.

On Sunday, we had the privilege of being ministered to by men who did not need the spotlight, who were not on stage because they enjoyed the attention.  First came Randy, leading us in worship with help from Robert (a humble guy in his own right).  My brother Randy is not a typical worship leader.  He’s not highly energetic.  He is not the moody artistic type, but quiet, steady, mature, stable.  He leads his fellow musicians with grace and patience.  He’s a good guitarist and has a solid voice, but isn’t obsessed with how he sounds.  He simply leads so God’s people can follow, so we are set free to offer our worship to our Lord.  This past week he was the only person on stage with a microphone, but it didn’t feel at all like he was the star of the show.  The songs were simple and reflective, and I found myself connecting with God through them as I rarely do.  (It definitely helped that I wasn’t mentally preparing to preach the sermon).  When it was over, I was left thinking about God, not about Randy, which is, I believe, how it’s supposed to work.

Then it was time for the sermon, which was preached by Joseph McCartney, our Director of High School Ministries.  Joey is not a typical youth pastor.  He’s not wild and crazy.  He just loves kids, and he loves God’s Word.  Like Randy, he was calm and quiet.  He taught the scriptures with a sincere heart and with love and grace for his audience.  It was just his third time preaching to our congregation, and I remember enough about my first sermons, the nerves and the self-doubt, to appreciate what he was going through.  But he did great.  He wasn’t flashy, but he pointed us toward God’s truth, and I left church that day thinking about the message, not the speaker, which, again, is how I believe it’s supposed to work.

This week, as Palm Sunday reminds us that Easter is around the corner, think about what it means that to you to that we serve a King who didn’t seek the throne, a Savior who didn’t seek the spotlight.  And when the spotlight was on Him, he didn’t do something to impress the crowds, but instead did what would bless them the most.  He humbled Himself and was led to the cross, and let His Father decide what happened from there.  May He give us grace to follow in His footsteps.

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