The Basket Of Humility

December 20, 2018
by Isabel Allison

Luke 2:7 – And [Mary] gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NIV)

In Nigeria, Africa, the Mbe Bible-translating team was into Luke chapter 2, verse 7. They did not even pause at their Mbe word used for manger. They had always used the word okpang orally and in their partial translations.

But now, the inter-language translation consultant asked, "What does an okpang look like?" On a whiteboard, an Mbe man sketched a picture of a cradle hung by ropes so that a newborn baby could be laid in it and swung. "We have used the word okpang for years," he said, and all of the team agreed that they wanted no other word.

But the consultant patiently reminded them that God expects people to find words to match the original language's meaning. "The original word here means an animal-feeding trough," he explained. "What do you use for your animals to eat from?"

"We use an old basket, an edzabre."

"Try that word," he suggested.

Much discussion followed. The Mbe people were moved to consider the extents of Jesus' humility. Born of a humble maiden, He was laid in an animals' feeding trough. He went on to wash His disciples' feet and to die on a cross. They questioned, "If Jesus can so humble Himself, what about us?" The Mbe people chose the word edzabre.

James wrote, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up" (James 4:10 NIV).

Paul wrote, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst" (1 Timothy 1:15 NIV).

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You came in humility, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Please grant us understanding and humility in our relationships so that multitudes will choose Your way and humbly believe and be saved. Amen.
Permission has been granted by Wycliffe Bible Translators Inc. USA, for the use of information from the article “Inspired by God” by John Watters, published in “When God's Word Speaks” ©2016.

About the author:

Isabel Allison <allisonisabel@mymts.net>
Roland, Manitoba, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    May it be so, Isabel. Merry Christmas.


    Amen Isabel. Have a wonderful Christmas.


    Isabel, What a lovely message in your devotional. Thank you,


    Thank you, Isabel, for this fascinating story and what it teaches.


    Very interesting. Thank you. Merry Christmas.
    (Manitoba)


    Thank you, Isabel, for sharing this devotional insight into a very familiar Scripture reading. Blessings.


    A good illustration of humility and how we can be more like Jesus. May many believe and be saved. Blessings.


    Sure helps me today. Thanks a lot for sharing this clear and thoughtful example not only about the humility of Christ but the fellowship of these dear believers as they wait on God for the right words.


    Hi Isabel,
    Thank you for your devotional on this fine and beautiful day. It was very interesting, informative, most touching, and very much appreciated. God bless you!


    I am always so pleased when I open a devotional from you Isabel. You never disappoint me Such a small word, such a different message.
    I wish you a very Happy Christmas and New Year, 2019.


    Fascinating story and wonderful message.


    Hi Isabel,
    What a wonderful devotion about the manger.
    We wish you and yours a blessed Christmas and a good New Year.

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