stubborn people, humble goats, and the Kingdom of God

stubborn coupleYou have to admit that we can be pretty stubborn sometimes.  Right?  Or at least, let me confess: “I can be pretty stubborn sometimes.”

Webster’s defines “stubborn” as: “inflexible, determined to have one’s own way.”  I wonder how often our unwillingness to be flexible or our determination to have things our own way has negatively impacted the relationships we share with others.  And I wonder, how our stubbornness has often undermined the God that we purport to belong to.

Rocks with a Small TreeWhat place does arrogance or stubbornness or inflexibility or the attitude of “my-way-or-the-highway” have in the Kingdom of God?  None.

Jesus says, “If someone wants to steal the shirt right of your back, willingly give the thief your coat as well.”  “And if someone manipulates you and coerces you into going a mile out of your way for their own selfish benefit, go even further for the sole purpose of Kingdom revealing” (Matthew 5:40-41 in my own words).

The Apostle Paul places it in these terms, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests (how selfish would that be), but look also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:4-5).

Egoism.  Stubbornness.  Inflexibility.  These are not the Kingdom.  The Kingdom is: “Righteousness.  Peace.  And joy in the Holy Spirit” (see Romans 14:17).

In any given situation you are not the most important person.  Neither am I.  Jesus is!

Stubbornness damages the Kingdom.  Every time.

goatDuring the Reformation of the 16th century Zwingli and Luther and had come to an impasse.  Both were perplexed as to how there could be unity between the two of them with their differences.  Until one day Zwingli observed two goats approaching one another from opposite directions on a treacherous, narrow mountain path.  A wall of rock on one side, and a thousand foot cliff on the other.  As they approached one another, the two goats lowered their heads, as though they were about to crash into one another, but then the one going up the mountain trail lay completely flat on the path and allowed the one descending the mountain to step on top of him.  After he had safely passed, the one who had humbled himself then continued his climb.

I wonder what you and I might learn from that?

Glory to God!

Jason

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