Summary: A sermon about humility.
“The Humble are Lifted Up”
Last weekend, I read a post on Facebook by an old classmate from high school.
It said that another classmate--named Sean Hodge--had passed away.
It took me a minute or two, but I remembered Sean.
I hadn’t known him very well.
He was a year ahead of me in school.
The last image I have of Sean is as a young (and what I interpreted as a bit of a cocky) high school kid walking home from school with a smirk on his face after getting off the school bus.
I haven’t seen him since.
That image seems like it could have been yesterday.
It’s frozen in time.
But, it was not yesterday; it was a little over 30 years ago.
And now he is dead.
He died of a sudden heart attack.
It really hit me.
Life is just a vapor.
And the older I get, the more this becomes a reality.
Sean’s death has been bothering me all week.
In any event, I was unaware that I was a friend of Sean’s on Facebook.
So, I went to his profile and started reading about his life.
I could see he was married to a girl who had graduated in my class.
Sean had a beautiful, happy family—two teenage girls.
I tried to find out what he did for a living, but he hadn’t written anything about it.
I looked to see where he went to college; all it said was that he graduated with his undergraduate degree from Colorado State.
It was only when the obituary came out that I read that Sean had then gone on to graduate from a prestigious medical school and had been practicing as a doctor for the past 20 years.
Why did Sean not list his doctoral work on his profile?
Why did he not say he was a doctor?
Why didn’t he use his status to brag to the world.
I mentioned this to his best friend.
His answer was “That’s because Sean was so much more than a doctor.”
One comment about Sean in the obituary stood out to me. It said: “He was interested in a wide range of issues and was always ready to discuss and argue for his perspective of favoring the underprivileged and less fortunate.”
What a humble guy--that kid walking home from school with a smirk on his face turned out to be—not cocky at all; the exact opposite actually.
I wonder how often we misread other people?
I wonder how often we assume the worst about someone, just because we haven’t taken the time to get to know them?
Sean was a quiet kid, a year older than me.
He did always appear to have a smirk on his face.
So, I figured he was full of himself.
But one of his friends who knew him well in high school wrote: “Sean taught me to respect quiet, smart people.”
So, that’s what Sean was.
He was a quiet, smart person.
A uniquely humble guy who cared deeply about the underprivileged and less fortunate.
You know, the Bible talks a lot about the humble and the underprivileged and the less fortunate.
And sometimes, I think, we might take it for granted that a person has to be underprivileged in order to be humble.
But that’s not really true, is it?
In any event, for 2,000 years people have been asking the question: “Why did God choose Mary to be the mother of His Son?”
Could it be that her qualifications were that she was humble, she loved God, and she was willing to offer herself completely to God’s will?
Legend has it that Mary was not the first person to be asked by God to bear His Son, but rather she was the first person to say “Yes.”
There is no way we can know if this is true, but let’s imagine it is for a moment.
How many others did Gabriel approach before Mary?
How many others said, “You are out of your mind!!!”
How many others were not willing to take the risk?
How many others turned down the privilege of giving birth to the Kingdom of God?
How many others said “No” before Mary said “Yes”?
Mary said “Yes” to God Who wanted to dwell within and through her.
And in a very real sense, this is the same thing God asks of us.
God doesn’t just want to be “with us;” God wants to be within us—distinct yet inseparable!!!
This is what Mary’s “Yes” was about.
She said “Yes” to being a vessel for the divine and the holy.
She was given a choice to allow God to work through her and she said “Yes.”
The same is true for Moses, Deborah, Elijah, Esther, Isaiah…