The psalmist’s reminder that God regards the lowly and is removed from the haughty echoes throughout the Bible. Micah’s oft-quoted words render the psalmist’s words as a prescription for action: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8, niv). Jesus makes it personal: “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matt. 23:12). Mary’s song remembers when leaders have experienced the truth of the psalmist’s words: “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble” (Luke 1:52, niv).
These words can serve as a warning to those in elected, nominated, or even self-proclaimed leadership roles today. When we look at the global leadership stage, we can sense that God is far away from leaders haughty about their high positions.
The psalmist believes in the Lord’s promise to support the lowly. The Lord will be with all who seek God’s purpose. When we lead out of a sense of our lowliness, we call this model “servant leadership.” Leader-as-servant is often the only way for a leader to achieve respect or lasting results. We show that we have in mind the best interests of those whom we lead when we humbly seek to serve them.
As Christians, we have a perennial model of servant leadership in Jesus who simply, deliberately, and effectively turns the image of leadership upside down with common utensils—a basin and a towel—to serve his followers.
Where have you seen or experienced signs of servant leadership?
Loving Lord, clothe us in humility that we may more closely resemble you. Amen.
The theme of calling is continued in this week’s readings. Isaiah has a vision of God on the throne and is terrified because he knows that he is unworthy; yet he is being called by God. The psalmist, traditionally David, praises God for having a purpose for his life and bringing it to completion. Paul echoes Isaiah’s sentiments of his own unworthiness to the Corinthians. While assuring his readers of the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection, Paul recognizes that he preaches only by the grace of God. When Jesus is calling his disciples, Simon Peter recognizes him as the Lord and cowers because he feels unworthy—much like the prophet Isaiah had done. These readings teach us that God’s call is based not on our worthiness but on our willingness.
Read Isaiah 6:1-13. When have you heard a difficult call from God? How did you come to finally say, “Here I am; send me”?
Read Psalm 138. How have you seen God uplift the lowly and the humble? How have these experiences changed the way you live out your faith?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. How does your life witness to Christ’s resurrection?
Read Luke 5:1-11. How has Christ called you? Whether or not you feel worthy to the call, Christ wants you to follow.
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