Summary: When I love like Jesus loves my passion for people prevails over my pride in my position
Several weeks ago I was officiating a volleyball match in a tournament. During one rally I blew my whistle and before I even made my call, one of the players made a comment that indicated he thought the call was going to go against his team. So, in what was certainly not one of my finest moments, I turned to him and snapped “Why don’t you at least wait until I make the call!” In essence what I was really communicating to that player and everyone else who heard me was “I’m the ref here. How dare you question my authority.”
Unfortunately, that is not the first time in my life I’ve used my position in a way that I ended up treating someone else arrogantly or rudely. And my guess is that most of you probably struggle with the tendency to do that, too.
• Men, have you ever misused your position of headship within your marriage to treat your wives like that?
• Parents have you ever used your position of authority to treat your children like that. I won’t ask for a show of hands because I don’t want to embarrass anyone but how many of you parents have ever said something like this to your kids: “Because I’m the parent and I said so!”
• Have any of you ever used your position of authority in the workplace to treat your subordinates arrogantly or rudely?
• Have you ever treated someone who is serving you like that? Maybe someone like the cashier at the grocery store or the server at a restaurant?
If you’ve never done anything like that, then you have my permission to tune out the rest of the message this morning, but if you’re like me and you struggle in that area, then I hope you’ll join me in looking at the life of Jesus and learning how we can love the way He loves – with a love that is not arrogant or rude.
Once again, we’ll begin this morning in 1 Corinthians 13. The next phrase we come to there is this:
…it [love] is not arrogant or rude...
(1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV)
Once again, Paul addresses what love is from a negative perspective – it is not arrogant or rude. Let’s take a moment to define those terms before we move on to the account of how Jesus loves like this.
This verb is derived from the word for an air bellows and it literally means to inflate or blow up. Figuratively it describes someone who has an inflated view of his or her own importance.
“to act improperly”
This verb is derived from a word that literally means “without shape or form”. It means to behave in an ugly, indecent, unseemly or unbecoming manner.
In order to learn more about how Jesus loves in a manner that is not arrogant or rude, we’re going to look at what is probably a familiar passage to many of you. It’s found in chapter 10 of Luke’s gospel:
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 ESV)
More than likely, if you’ve ever studied or heard a message on this passage, the focus was on Martha and Mary and their behaviors and attitudes. And that is certainly a beneficial way to look at the passage. But this morning, what I want to do is to direct your attention to how Jesus acts here.
As we’ve studied some of these passages that we’re looking at in this series on Monday mornings, one of the things that we’ve found to be really helpful is to try to put ourselves into Jesus’ sandals in these situations and consider how we would tend to respond and compare that to the way Jesus actually reacts. This is a passage where that approach is particularly instructive.
Let’s suppose for a moment that you’re Jesus in this situation. You’re welcomed into her home by Martha. As she is busy trying to be a good hostess, you begin to teach and Mary sits at your feet listening. But before too long, Martha comes up to rebuke you and to give you orders. “Lord, if you really cared about me you surely wouldn’t let her just sit there while I do all the work. Tell her to help me!”