Humble Exultation {Luke 18}

12:00 AM

By Lisa Thayer

Sometimes I see on Facebook the quote, “No matter what life throws at us, at least we don’t have ugly children!”  I have often put my hand over my mouth when I read that.  And I have been convicted of holding too tightly to my children.  Many of you are aware that this season of empty nesting has been difficult for me – and I still have two children living at home!  Seriously, just look at the many, and I mean many posts on social media about our children’s accomplishments.  There are posts about sports achievements, academic achievements, health achievements, even religious achievements.  We are proud of our children.  We have spent 18-20 years attending every event and watched them grow and reach huge milestones. 

When I first read this chapter, verse 29 stood out to me.  But why is it included in the parable of the ‘Rich Man’?  Personally, it answered a prayer about why this season of empty nesting was so difficult for me.  I believe it is because we place what we hold dear to us first in our lives.  God, our Heavenly Father, our Creator, must be first. 

Job 1:21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised.”  Verse 29 is included in the parable of the rich man because we may not always be attached to money or possessions, but people, especially our children or parents.

The end of chapter 17 ended with “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.”  (17:33-35)  Which lead to the beginning of chapter 18 – persistence in prayer.  When we live by faith, we are not to give up (v. 1).  In the first parable of this chapter, a widow keeps coming before the judge.  In my current situation, I realized, I needed to remove my children from my grasp, and bring them before the Lord to have Him bless them.  And trust that the blessings He has in store for them may not be the same blessings I believe they deserve.  I learned that I need to humbly lay them before Him for Him to use them to further His Kingdom.  I have had to do this over and over, sometimes many times in the same day! 

This parable is followed by the humble tax collector.  The people I work with often grumble and complain about a lawyer they often have to work with on certain cases.  He truly appears to be a scoundrel.  Yet, occasionally I visit a different church, and there he is humbly wheeling his mother in a wheelchair up to communion.  And each time I see him, I see this humble man, not the unjust lawyer. 

I remember a sermon a few years ago about the blind beggar and it has stuck with me.  We encounter Jesus all day long and sometimes we think because He knows what we ‘need’, He should just grant it to us.  I mean after all, we are believers – He knows the number of hairs on our head, He certainly can see my present situation.  Yet there are obstacles in our way, especially in the world we live in.  If we can be persistent in faith, and come to Jesus with our specific requests, our eyes will be opened and we will see the way He intends for our lives to be lived.  Jesus asks us, “What do you want me to do for you?” (v. 41) – He wants us to be specific!

God is loving and He will respond to us, we have to believe He hears our cries for help.  And we receive healing because of our faith.  Persistence is not the means to earn salvation, but the by-product of a truly devoted life.  Every time there is a miracle, there is a conversion.   We must humble ourselves over and over.

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