HOW SHOULD WE GO FORWARD? WITH HUMILITY!
- Humility with respect to self
- Humility with respect to others
Text: Luke 14:1,7-14
When Pastor Waterstradt was about to retire from the ministry a couple of years ago, he came to me with a request about the worship plans for his final Sunday. He asked that we not make any major changes to the service plans or the Bible readings for the day; he would simply preach on one of the three readings for the day and make it fit as a final farewell sermon. As the plans turned out, Pastor Waterstradt’s final Sunday occurred eight weeks after Easter on “Trinity Sunday.” All three readings mentioned the Trinity, but one of the readings that day came from the end of one of the apostle Paul’s letters, in which he was saying “farewell” to his readers. Needless to say, that reading was a perfect match for that occasion!
I took the same approach on my final Sunday in my previous parish five years ago, and I planned to do the same this morning for my final Sunday among you here at St. Mark’s. And then I looked at the appointed readings for today and thought, “This is going to be a challenge!” Today’s three lessons have one common theme: humility. What a message to preach on a pastor’s final Sunday: “You all should be humbler!” This could be an awkward sermon to preach!
But the more I thought about these readings, the more I realized that today is a good day for us to hear a message of humility—that each person thinks humbly of himself and others, that we do not elevate anyone to be a “second Savior” in our minds, and that we maintain a spirit of warmth and humility as you carry out your congregation’s ministry in the future under different circumstances. Since I announced my acceptance of a new call, I haven’t been a part of discussions about St. Mark’s future plans, but on my final Sunday with you, it is appropriate for us to turn to God’s Word and find encouragement for the spirit and attitude with which you ought to move forward. How should you move forward as a Christian congregation? Jesus answers that question in today’s Gospel by saying, “With humility!” Jesus’ words in Luke 14 encourage us to keep a humble attitude with respect to oneself, and also to keep a humble attitude with respect to others. Read More…