January 10, 2008
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3
Last week two stories made it into the news. One was a story you couldn’t escape: the assassination of Benazir Bhutto who was running for President of Pakistan. The other story was one reported only in passing: how a mother helped her 6-year-old girl lie and win four tickets to a Hannah Montana concert.
The first story needs no explanation; the second calls for some clarification. Hannah Montana is a TV show about a teen-age girl singing star who has a separate, secret identity as an average student. Tickets to a Hannah Montana concert are almost impossible to get. That’s why, when a girl’s clothing store had an essay contest to give away four tickets, a Garland, Texas, mother, along with her daughter, offered their submission.
The composition began, “My daddy died this year in Iraq.”
The only problem is the story was a story. It didn’t happen. The girl’s father is living and doing just fine.
Now the reason I mention these two stories is simple: they are one and the same. A terrorist who thinks his way is best and believes he is justified in taking the lives of others is not so very different in mindset from the mother who helps her daughter lie in an essay. That mother spoke for both when she confessed, “We did whatever we could do to win.”
Both think they are right in advancing their cause, even if it hurts others.
That is not the kind of attitude Christians should espouse. When he was writing to the church at Rome, St. Paul said, “None of us ought to think of ourselves more highly than we should.”
In making that statement, Paul was letting Christ’s people know we should follow the example of the Savior. Look at Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection and you will quickly see Jesus put Himself to the back so that we might be saved. Never, not once, do the Gospels report Jesus saying anything like, “Hey, I’m the Son of God, I deserve to be treated better than this.” No, Jesus sacrificed Himself for our salvation.
As we live our lives, it is right we do so in humility that builds up others. As we go through today may our witness be made with sober judgment according to the faith that God has given.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I am overwhelmed by Your uncompromising dedication to saving me. That You were willing to become One of us and give Your life so I might be saved is a love beyond my comprehension. Now, in how I treat others, let me bear witness to what You have done. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries