The scribes and Pharisees wanted to be noticed, honored and praised for their knowledge of the Torah and interpretation of the Law of Moses. Their traditions became so over the top that they were described in Matthew 23:4 by Jesus as laying heavy burdens on people’s shoulders that were hard to bear. Jesus also talked about how, “They do all their deeds to be seen by others…[and]… love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues” (Matt. 23:5-6). They wanted their names to be made known above all and their obsession for standing, status and self-indulgence became a presence of oppression.
Jesus warned against their ways and provided an opposite alternative to greatness during the last supper. As the disciples sat with Jesus, they began to argue about who was the greatest among them. It appears that even they were not immune to the allure of status, honor and power the world had to offer. Jesus demonstrated true humility and taught them that greater is the one who serves rather than the one that is served (Luke 22:26). Then as an act of love for his disciples, he gets up from the table and prepares to wash their feet (John 13: 4-5).
Jesus humbled himself to the status of servant as he removed his outer garments, poured water in the basin, kneeled and washed the miles of filth off of his disciples feet. The highest became the lowest and the master became the servant. Their eyes were opened to the greatness of God as Jesus fulfilled their need for love and forgiveness through a humble act of service.
The cure for self-concern is to focus on Christ’s greatness rather than our own.
When are you tempted by the allure of status, honor and power? Like me, do you try to establish your own greatness through parenting outcomes, job performance and accomplishments? Does it feel like your desire for greatness becomes a weight too heavy to bear?
Dear friend, Jesus loves you. He died on the cross and bore the weight of your self-serving sin, and mine, so that we could be free from the pressures of this world. Unlike our wants and desires that we so desperately pursue, Jesus is near; He is attainable and He wants to work in and through you.
When you notice your motives are self-serving, cry out to God saying, “Lord, will you please open my eyes to the ways in which I have sought my own greatness instead of yours. I thank you that I am forgiven for these things because of your death on the cross and victory over sin. Give me a heart to see the pain of others and enter into it with humility and love so that I may serve them, just like you serve me. Amen.”
Memory Verse: “Even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
David experienced a range of emotions in the form of fear, pressure, anger, anxiety and more when he was forced out of Israel, on the run from Saul, fighting battles and surviving in a harsh land. But even in the midst of such adversity, it says in 2 Samuel 3:1 that “David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.” Finally, it was time. In chapter 5 David and his men took the stronghold of Zion (Jerusalem) and defeated the Philistines to secure the city in which the Lord would build David’s house.
The victory over the Philistines was significant not because it secured David’s new place as king, but because David brought the presence of God (the Ark of the Covenant) out of the hands of the Philistines and into the midst of His people. The prize for David’s many years of waiting was the presence of the almighty God, rather than the presentation of a crown. David’s response was nothing short of inspiring.
“Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets” (2 Sam. 6: 14-15). He worshiped undignified, unfiltered and unashamed. The weight of the wait was over and David found himself caught up in the moment, liberated by the joy of being in the presence of God.
Do you ever feel the weight of the wait upon you? Maybe you feel the shame of being let go from a job, exhaustion of fighting night and day against the ever present voice of “mom guilt,” the anger of waiting on a promise that isn’t yet fulfilled or the fear of not knowing what’s going to happen to your child. David waited years to bring the presence of God to Israel, but because of Jesus, we can experience hope, freedom, joy and security in the presence of God always.
Because of God’s presence, we can release the weight of the wait and be fully present.
Friend, what things are keeping you from being in the moment today? What is the weight you are carrying? God sees you, He knows you and He wants to offer you freedom in the place of fear and pressure, joy in the place of anger and security in the place of anxiety.
So, as the things of your life threaten to overtake you, take a moment to look to Jesus and let his presence bring you back to a place of liberating joy.
Memory Verse: “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” Psalm 63: 3-4
How would this beautiful tabernacle be raised and where would the materials come from?
God called Bezalel by name (Ex 31: 2 ESV) and “filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills to make artistic designs…” (Ex 31: 3-4 NIV) to make the tabernacle. In the days of Egypt, when it was all Bezalel could do to put one foot in front of the other, God was forging in him the skills he needed for the day the Spirit of God would empower him to raise the tabernacle for His glory and the welfare of Israel.
In Chapter 35, God commanded His people to bring supplies (that they took with them when they left Egypt), with generous hearts, and skills, with willing hands, to contribute to the construction of the tabernacle. God used their exodus from Egypt to provide for the materials used in the creation of an even greater blessing.
God is faithful to provide the skill and the will to complete the work He sets before us.
As I think about all the joyful, beautiful, scary, hard and hopeful times both you and I face as moms, I am encouraged by the good news that God does the same for us. If God was faithful to provide for the Israelites in the raising of the tabernacle, how much more will he provide for you in the raising of your children? You have been called by name to belong to God through Jesus, and he has given you his Spirit to empower you with the skill and the will to complete the work of loving, caring for and investing in those around you.
Sister, because of Christ, you have everything you need to fulfill your God-given calling. Remember, he has given you his Spirit, he is with you, and he is using the trials of your daily life to forge in you everything you need for your sacred calling.
Memory Verse: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Devotionals by Author
All Abby McDonald Angi Morrison Anne Say Audra Powers Breanna Faith Spearman Brenna Kurz Brittany Marlow Caroline Hultgren Courtney Filippin Dana Schaefer Danielle Biddy Debbie Burns Heather Kenny Jannetta Cox Jessica Parker Jess Ridgeway Joan Lavori Katelyn Wilson Katie Gibson Kelly Orlowski Kerri Barfield Keryn Stokes Kristen Williamson Laura Pendley Lindsay McNeely Lonette Baity Martha Rudolph Nancy Ehlinger Renee Robinson Saretta Wells Tara McGill Taylor Watkins Tierney Nashleanas Wendy Gerdes