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Literally Humble


7:59 AM
Yesterday was one of surprises and blessings. My activities included: reading the Psalms on the back porch, coming to the office for a brief time and doing some work, having lunch with my son Seth, dropping the car off to get it fixed after running over some trash that fell of a truck in front of me, having a meeting with my pastor, and going to class. The between times, driving from place to place, were filled with contemplating the theologies of Rahner, which I find difficult to understand. Some of his ideas I agree with but there are other thoughts that I disagree with totally.

While driving around, a friend from the Downtown Rescue Mission called and needed money to buy a truck. He wrecked his and now doesn’t have a means of transportation to get to work and school. I wanted to say no, but I didn’t. I told him I would buy the truck for him as long as we didn’t go above $2,500. While at lunch, I got an email from George Veras, the marketing guy at the Hall of Fame. He apologized for the late notice but wanted me to do a 4 hour telephone call Friday and would pay me $10,0000. Coincidence? God is so good! I think, He has been waiting on me to trust and surrender so that He might show me his faithfulness.

I also have been noticing that there are times when I have felt led to either kneel or lie prostrate to God. Naturally, I didn’t. I simply sat there and would talk “to God” in a way that no one else would know what I was doing. This morning, I was led to kneel before leaving the house. This time, in the safety of the privacy of my own home, I knelt. What a blessing!

Why is it that I say I want to be pleasing to God and follow his will while at the same time, I fail to do it? Also, why do I fool myself into thinking I am following Christ but yet I always limit my surrender?

For me, I think it boils down to fear. The money issues are a fear that I will not have enough to live on or not keep up my lifestyle if I follow God’s leading in giving to those in need. At other times, it is that I am fearful of what others will think. What if someone walked into my office and saw me kneeling? What would they think? It’s not that I’m some holier than thou person who is wearing my faith on my sleeve or trying to cram the gospel down somebody’s throat. Besides, I don’t think that was Jesus’ way. He did, however, go off by himself to pray and in remembering him in the garden, he knelt. I also remember Daniel and company kneeling three times a day in their living quarters. Maybe these acts of worship and praise have a purpose.

Maybe these acts are used to allow God to reveal himself and his character to us. Maybe these acts are used to confirm our humility, our adoration, and our surrender to our King. Maybe in surrendering and in doing we get to experience God in reality and not just in the imaginings of our mind. He becomes real. At any rate, I am going to pray that God grants me the grace that In the future, I will listen to the impulses that he plants in my head and then be wiling to do them.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18-19

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Written by John Hannah

November 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

Literally Humble


As most of my friends know, I am in the process of getting my MA in Pastoral Studies from Loyola Chicago. I read a book earlier entitled The Call to Discernment by Dean Brackley. If you take it to heart, it will shake you up! It talks of how the American economic system has created a hierarchy of status based on wealth. Status symbols have become our standards for determining self-worth. This comparison, what is in reality competition, causes us to look down on those at a lower rung while holding in contempt and envy those who hold a higher rung. His issue was not that there are those who have the God-given talents to increase wealth but that somehow in creating this wealth, they think themselves superior. He also has issue with those who are less wealthy who have bought into the societal norms and somehow feel they are less than. In either case, we dishonor God because He has made us all and we are all equal – equal in depravity and equal in the grace of His love and forgiveness.

This morning I was pondering over the three types of humility as defined by Saint Ignatius. For those unfamiliar with Saint Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, I will give you a brief intro into his understanding of humility. It is important to know that each of these three types of humility builds on the previous humility.

1. Person of the Law – This person is totally committed to keeping the externals of being a Christian. For instance, making sure they are in church every Sunday, that no curse words cross their lips, you know the external.
2. The seconde humility gets to a point in life that they neither desire riches nor wealth, fame nor disgrace, health nor sickness, long-life nor short. Their only desire is for whatever brings the most praise, reverence, and service to Jesus and/or whatever builds them the most in their faith, hope and love.
3. The third humility is to actually desire poverty over riches, shame and disgrace over fame and honor.

As I was thinking about this, I remembered a conversation about the Genesis creation story. I happened to state that I had changed my view on the Genesis creation story. I wasn’t really sure that is the way it happened and that it might be more allegorical to teach Spiritual truths. Wow! Did I catch it! I was wondering though does he takes the following passage found in Mark 10 as literally as he does the Genesis story?

“As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.'” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to (the) poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”

Most times I hear others speak about this passage, they tend to talk that it really didn’t mean to sell all your possessions but just to love Jesus more than the possessions. It is an allegory. Is that why the apostles got up and walked away from everything to follow Jesus? I guess in my own mind, I have settled on taking the passage in Mark more literally than the one in Genesis.

Written by John Hannah

October 12, 2010 at 11:21 am

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