Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Cross bearing, humility, and joy!

Monthly theme: Humility.

Reading time: two minutes.

A guy I know wrote, “Ministry is great, but hard, because it’s the way of the cross.”

Jesus told us that the way of following Him into kingdom service would be the way of the cross. See for example, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).

Sometimes the cross is laid on ministers by people around them. I hope you bear that cross infrequently.

Sadly, there’s no avoiding the cross we bear that comes from the inside.

By God’s gracious care, we often avoid the persecution the prophets and apostles endured from the people around them, but the first cross we bear each day is the cross common to every child of God who has gone before us: our own sinful nature.

Just as we are limited in our physical strength and our intellectual capacity, because we’ve all inherited a sinful human nature, we bear the cross of our inability to avoid sin.

The Catechism reminds us that, “We daily sin much.” The passions of the flesh are our constant companions. Our wills are not perfectly formed. Our minds are easily distracted. Our eyes wander.

When St. Paul describes the inward, daily struggle in Romans chapter 7, we all say, “Yup. That’s me.”

It’s humbling. We’re powerless. It’s a cross we bear.

A cross that drives us to the cross of Jesus Christ.

The beauty of our limitations, physical, intellectual, spiritual, and otherwise, is that they always humble us, always show our dependence on a God who is greater than our weakness.

Humility and faith go together.

I find so much comfort in the biblical stories of God’s call. I hear my response in theirs!

Moses: “I have a brother who would be much better at this, Lord.”

Esther: “There must be someone else. All I’ve ever done is win a beauty contest!”

Isaiah: “But Lord, I’m a man of unclean lips.”

Peter: “Go away from me, Lord. I’m a sinful man.”

It turns out that God uses those with humble hearts, and humble hearts come from recognizing the weakness so readily apparent to us all, our inclination to sin.

And still, God calls. People like us. And He forgives. Completely. Perfectly.

And the grief of our repentance is turned to the joy of salvation.

And the joy of humble service in ministry, sharing the good news of a Savior’s perfect love.

Thanks for reading.