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Craving Influence

Do not eat the food of a begrudging host,
    do not crave his delicacies;
for he is the kind of person
    who is always thinking about the cost.
“Eat and drink,” he says to you,
    but his heart is not with you.  You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments.  Proverbs 23:6-8

Today’s proverb takes two different points of view at what should be a time of generosity, joy and even love.  A scene of a great dinner set to impress.  And boy do we like to be impressed and to impress others!  We scroll through social media or magazines looking enviously at how the “other half” live.  But here’s the thing – even the “other half” are working hard to impress the “upper crust.”  Envy, jealousy and striving.  Trying to be accepted by someone or some group.

The enigma of Jesus was that as God incarnate, He never felt the need to impress or even be impressed.  He could have so easily waved His hand and wowed the crowd during the Sermon on the Mount.  Gold coins falling from the sky.  The finest roasted meats and delectable fruits suddenly appearing for all to partake.  No, instead He took the humble offering of a few fish and loaves and told His disciples to just start passing them out.  The folks in the back of the crowd probably never even knew how scant the food quantity was to begin with.  

Each time Jesus encountered a rich or powerful person He treated them as any other.  But with the poor and downtrodden He showed so much gentleness and kindness.  Quite the opposite one would expect for the King of the Jews.  

Friends, we need to shun the way of the pharisees who sought to not only be impressed by Jesus but also to impress.  Humility was foreign to them.  Hierarchy was necessary for their way of life.  However, Jesus asks us to wash the feet of all men and accept the washing of our feet in humbleness.  God does not need us to impress Him with our works and money.  He knows the sacrifices we make large and small in His name.  He knows the genuine love we show to any and all of His people.  

Holy God, help me each and every day to be humble in my ways, serving you and others with love.  Amen

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