My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore. Psalm 131 NIV
There have been times when I dreamed of what I might accomplish that would mightily impact the world. Like the famed character of fiction, Walter Mitty, I have dreamed or better, invented in my mind different scenarios where I would be a different and exceptional person who could take pride in myself. I have struggled with accepting myself with knowledge of my limitations. I have questioned and have had it suggested by some spiritual mentors I have had over the years that I might do more had I not limited myself.
I am transparent about this matter with those who follow my writings only for the purpose of understanding and applying this passage. To want to be more than who we are is a good thing for by embracing the feeling we may press the limits or what we accept as the natural boundaries of our lives to expand and grow as persons. This is good as what we offer back to God the best from the foundation of who we are is the best offering.
I would remind you of Jesus’ teaching of the Parable of the talents as serving only one supporting passage for this principle. Two took what they were given and invested in what they had and multiplied substantially what they could give back to their master. They unleashed their potential and were blessed with the commendation of “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And because they were faithful with what they had they were entrusted and rewarded with greater opportunity.
The third person of Jesus’ parable was bitter and focused his attention on his limitations that he hid his potential and begrudgingly only what he had been given. The fault of the third servant who failed himself and his master was the sin of pride. It was not the pride of accomplishment the other two discovered, but the pride of entitlement. The other two produced differing amounts according to their capacity yet were each valued the same. This begs us to ask ourselves why we think God would value us less than others with greater capacity and opportunity. Jesus reveals this is not God’s way and should be rejected in our thinking.
This psalm has its composer accepting humbly his own limitations. If this composer is indeed David the famed king of Israel, the man after God’s heart and the one who rose from obscurity as a shepherd boy to be king of God’s people, then we should learn from his struggles with his perceived limitations. We should find company and solace in the knowledge that the one who slew a giant and overcame such great obstacles to achieve such greatness and historical notoriety did internally struggle with who he was. We should take comfort from knowing that this great king who also sinned so grievously from his lust for another man’s wife, the abuse of power and even poor parenting, then God can certainly do great things with us.
What overcomes the pride which causes us to dismiss our potential or overstate our value? It is faith in God and the abiding presence of Christ and the possession of his Holy Spirit. It is God who reveals our giftedness and cherishes our uniqueness. It is God who in our lives as the prophet Isaiah stated would lower mountains and raise the valleys in our lives. It is God who exposes our sin, forgives and empowers us to attempt greater things than are reasonable from a secular and human pint of view. It is Christ who will judge us and not ourselves, our parents, siblings, friends, society or culture. God only has the right to assess what is valuable.
In this context of faith we can accept the gift of who we are and discern the opportunities God can open. We can ask futilely all sorts of questions regarding why us or why not. The person who finds freedom is the one who accepts the truth about their lives and is open to what god might with and through them. They are quieted and at peace in their soul because they accept their Creator has a plan for them, one that might not be fully revealed at any given time as it is appreciated in retrospect as life unfolds. It is weaned as a child at its mother’s breast when they accept they are embraced in the loving arms of the One who made them.
I say these things and I believe them with my whole being yet I still fight with myself and cause my own dis-ease. The disease you see is sin and its cure is submission to the will of God, not surrender to the circumstance we find ourselves in, but to a God who can do in and through us what we cannot imagine. After all, look what God did in coming to us as a fragile child yet he overcame evil, death to become the Lord of all. This Christmas may you cherish your life for it is God’s gift to you. Cherish God’s gift of Jesus who can set you free and lead you to abundance life.