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Our family doesn’t usually sit down together for breakfast. But that morning it seemed like the most efficient way to get everyone fed. It seemed that way until I had finished eating and my one year old was still stuffing oatmeal in her mouth three grains at a time and my two year old was making various observations between bites about who was drinking milk and who was drinking coffee and whose glass was full and whose glass was empty and whose glass had “a wittle bit left.”
I stood and picked up my dishes but my two year old protested, “My still eating!”
Oh. We’ve been teaching Miriam to wait until everyone has finished dinner. We tell her that’s one way we show that we love one another.
So there I stood holding my plate about to leave while they were still eating and she called me on it. And for a second I wondered, “Do I really consider my children to be more significant than myself? Or do I just want my children to honor me by not becoming an inconvenience when they have finished dinner?”
I sat back down and squirmed in my chair thinking things like, “Is it to much to ask if I want to just get dressed for the day? It’s almost 10:00!” And, “Well, I was only trying to hurry up so we could do something fun for you.” But the whole time I knew that underneath all my excuses I really struggle to be humble towards my children.
I acknowledge that I ought to be humble. I know the Bible says a lot about the whole thing. But I usually think of it as an unpleasant yet necessary stage that I must pass through before God gets around to exalting me, the humble one.
Humility is not something we move through. It is a place we move towards until we fully arive in the ressurection. It is beautiful, not ugly.
It is beautiful because God delights in kneeling before wicked sinners and wiping the dirt from their feet. And as the Eternal, Almighty God picked up the wash basin he told them,
“For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27).
When we are humble towards our children it is a picture of the gospel: of the eternal God becoming a dead servant for men who are but dust. We pour out our lives for people who are weaker than we are. The world despises this. It smells like death. And they shout at us, “You fool! You have lost your life! When will you quit serving so you can be yourself again?”
We waiver when we hear their cry. Yes, we remember what it felt like when we were single, when we weren’t so tired, when we could think clearly, when our bodies didn’t bear the marks of bearing and mothering our children.
But as we sit back down at the breakfast table we proclaim that we believe what the gospels say, that those who lose their lives will find more joy on the other side of death than we dreamed possible.
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