Lest We Forget His Mercy - We Are The Poor

Luke 14:15-24 Sometimes, we are so consumed with our own self-importance, so distracted by this world and its baubles, that we confuse the riches of this world with the true riches of the kingdom (Matt 6; Luke 12) … and this causes us to take for granted what we have received, to believe that we somehow deserve “this” - God’s blessing through worldly means with worldly riches. And so, in our haughtiness, or being distracted, we miss opportunities to commune with God and others - and the great privilege of being blessed by our Father, and in turn, being blessed with the privilege to bless - others. Revelation 3:14-22

Lest we forget our own poverty, or, odor...

We are someone else’s… poor, lame, crippled

We are someone else’s… least

We are someone else’s… cross to bear

Humility, is not merely a matter of humbling of oneself, it is actually - the realization of God illuminating the true, poverty-stricken self, producing in us a very real view of self - one who is vulnerable, frail, fragile, and needy - in need of God’s mercy, grace, and love.

And having been blessed by the mere knowledge of God, let alone (now) being the object of His merciful, gracious love - the ability to see in others, their intrinsic value as declared by God - as He has shown to you and is true of/in others

And having been struck by this truth of (our) intrinsic worth, we now desire, more and more, to be a vessel of that expressed declaration - Jesus - growing in the desire to truly bless another, to honor both God and man.

We must learn that to humble oneself for the distinct purpose of “being humble” can be as (pride provoking and) self-promoting as arrogance born out of haughtiness.

Humility is not something that is done in a vacuum, but with and before (God and) others - loving and serving others. Certainly, there are blessings to be had in being humble…

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and he delivers those whose spirit has been crushed. ... The LORD is near to those whose hearts are humble.” (Psalm 34:18)

Even though the LORD is high above, he sees humble people [close up], and he recognizes arrogant people from a distance (Psalm 138:6)

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and humble of spirit, to restore the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57:15)

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6; 1Peter 5:5; Matt 23:12; Prov 3:34; 29:23)

But the fact remains, that humility for humility sake, is not the end-all, it is being humble in light of (God and) others, in full recognition that if it were not for God’s mercy and grace - we stand naked, as our self is exposed before a holy God and we are again confronted by our own poverty and desperate need for that mercy, and that we are here with others, and having received that undeserved grace, we learn to see others through the lens of God’s loving mercy, and revel in the honor and privilege to honor and love and serve and elevate - all with whom our paths cross, who they are, where they are, with mercy and grace.

As humility is not merely to “be humble”, but humility is in seeing others as valuable and treating them, serving them, loving them, doing life, living, with them - that way – mercifully, graciously, lovingly, humbly seeing them as better than self. (Phi 2:1-11)

Jesus’ humility leads to meekness, a gentle soul that is kind - as there is nothing He sees in Himself that needs (self) protecting, defending, elevating, proving - but instead, humility is the confidence of knowing who and whose one is so that all energy and effort can now be put forward to lift and elevate others, to bless, and serve, and celebrate others.

When we walk into a room and our ambition should be to elevate everyone in the room – in so, cannot help but be kind

Jesus confidence was in His trusting faith in His Father and His relationship with Him - expressed by His Father in the form of faithfulness to His beloved - child.

● His position as His Father’s beloved

● His privilege as His Father’s Son (child)

● His permanence as His Father’s possession

● His being the object of His Father’s affectionate faithfulness

Why do we struggle? Why is the world being tossed?

Our meandering through life, being pitched back and forth by the winds of change has everything to do with our desire to be accepted, to belong, to be grounded, to know and be secure.

God, came to restore us to Himself - what does that mean, to be restored to Him?

● Lostness… to not know the way

● Aimlessness… to not have a direction

● Worthlessness… to not have value

● Purposeless… to not have significance

If we do not have an identity, if we do not know who or what we are, we wander aimlessly in search of meaning and significance. In doing so, frustrated, we will attach ourselves to anything in an attempt to fulfill these inherent needs, or, longings - or - attack others as a perceived threat.

From Luke 14… We see Jesus entering room healing on the Sabbath rebuking the Pharisees, trying to realign their morality, and then speaking of the kingdom. That the righteousness that they would live out by inviting the poor, is the actual righteousness of the kingdom - expressed to them, in them, through them,, and therefore Jesus example of who is invited to the feast in the kingdom and those who will be rejected is an indictment on those who would believe that they have no need for mercy and God’s gracious and generous hospitality

Matthew 25 speaks of “the least of these”; Mark speaks of children being “the least of these”; James declares clearly, plainly, simply, that when we do not take care of the poor, and in fact, recognize our own property “you are rich rejoice in your suffering, or loss, or poverty“ and you discriminate among yourselves is also a reflection of this teaching.

What is it then that Jesus calls us to do? Is it not to live according to the kingdom truth and its righteousness, that righteousness that lives in us - Gods of life and us?

That is what Jesus is saying… it is about God’s righteousness living in and through us that invites us to the banquet, enables us to be seated with the righteous, as righteous - merciful, gracious, loving, and kind - humble and meek - just like Righteousness Himself, not by anything we have done, but by Christ, the Righteous One, who lives in me.

Has not My hand made all these things? And so they came into being, declares the LORD. This is the one I will esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at My word. Isaiah 66:2