Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Jesus I Have Promised"1 (Lyrics)
Philippians 2:5,7-8 – Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who … made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (KJV)
"Is this guy any good?" I heard a customer ask my husband, as I came downstairs into our tiny bookshop in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was holding a copy of The Great Code: The Bible As Literature. The back cover of the book was a full-face picture of the author, a world-renowned critic and scholar, Northrup Frye.
"Oh no. I certainly wouldn't recommend him," my husband said, shaking his head and frowning, but not having the faintest idea who he was talking about, never having read or even heard of Frye's inspired, heartfelt work.
But to my horror, as I stopped on the stairs, looking down, I saw that Frye himself stood behind them listening, with an amused grin on his lovely old face.
Oh, why did I ever allow my husband to run the shop occasionally? Northrup Frye's office was nearby at the university. He occasionally dropped in, but so far, it had been while I was behind the counter.
My personal experience with Frye had always been of being treated as an equal by a thoughtful and humble human being. As I came on downstairs, he bought a book from my husband and gave me a little hand wave, still smiling, as the shop door closed behind him.
A celebrity once demanded of Groucho Marx, "Do you know who I am?" "No," Marx said. "Don't you know either?" "The fatter the head, the bigger the target!" someone said. "I can't learn anything without humility, which is not thinking less of myself but thinking of myself, less."
Today, big tech and small screens conspire together to lure us into a quagmire of misery as we pay them homage, begging their approval with our every click on their names.
All through the gospels, Jesus used many parables to teach us the value of humility, loving and serving others. In these days of social media, there has never been more temptation to strive for fame and status, to become important in the eyes of the world, to be rated as influencers.
With the constant barrage of opportunity calling to us from every media screen, let us turn instead to God's call — a simple life of sacrifice, fitting ourselves as His children, all self laid aside, to do only His will today.
Prayer: O Father God, we thank You for Your Son, our Saviour, bowing His meek head to mortal pain and offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. How can we do less than to honour and obey Him as we walk with Him in a world full of preening egos? "Not I but Christ," we say, as we choose today to take up our crosses and follow where He leads. Keep our willing souls ever by His side and make us pure within, free of the need for any praise but Yours. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.