They are blessed who are humble,
for the whole earth will be theirs.
It’s so bizarre reading Genesis 10 and Matthew 5 together (see the Bible reading list below). After the flood there’s this mad dash to colonize the uninhabited wild west (so to speak), and you get this chapter of history in broad strokes, of powerful warlords establishing vast kingdoms and making a name for themselves. Nimrod, for example, ruled over Babylon and Nineveh, power centers that endured for centuries in the ancient world. He became a household name and role model for young men everywhere to aspire to. It was an epic time of heroes and great accomplishments. Deep down in my heart I want to be one of those guys.
And then there’s Jesus, telling his followers that the truly fortunate are the poor in spirit, the grief-stricken, those who are humble, just, merciful, pure and peaceful. This is so incredibly different from Genesis 10 I’m getting mental whiplash from reading the two together. I know I’ll never be a powerful warlord ruling a mighty kingdom. The Canadian authorities would never stand for it and I’m sure my wife would try to talk me out of it. But do I really want to pursue Jesus’ alternative? I confess I don’t leap out of bed in the morning thinking, Today I’ll strive to be more humble! I’ll be the humblest person in the world!
Yesterday’s reading in Matthew 4 told of Jesus rejecting Satan’s offer of all-encompassing worldly power. Jesus chose instead a life of humility and rejection and suffering. And that is my daily choice too: do I follow Jesus’ path of humility and mercy, purity and peace, or do I follow the world’s path of power and prestige? Seemingly inconsequential anonymity, or fame and fortune on YouTube?
I’m tempted by the power & prestige option, oh boy, am I tempted! But I want to follow Jesus, more than anything else. So I’ll work at that humility. I’m not very good at it, but it’s a start.