Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Reminders of Humility and Simplicity

This week, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.  As is tradition, he changed his name upon taking office.  The name he chose was Francis.  He will be known as Pope Francis I, named after Francis of Assisi.

The new pope chose the name for symbolic reasons.  One news outlet explains the symbolism this way: “(Francis of Assisi) symbolizes poverty, humility, simplicity, and rebuilding…” Taking the name Francis reminds the Pope (and the world) of the importance of humility and simplicity in Christian leadership.    

Christians are weird.  Reminding people of the importance of poverty, humility, and simplicity while becoming one of the most powerful people in the world is weird.  It is weird in the way Jesus was weird.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus celebrates the power of simplicity and humility while warning of the temptations of wealth and power.  Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit” and “blessed are the meek.”  Jesus teaches that “those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  Jesus warns, “it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Power and wealth are treated like temptations while humility and simplicity are celebrated like marks of God’s reign.

As you go through the coming week, give yourself a reminder of the importance of humility and simplicity.  Write a Bible verse celebrating humility on your hand.  Pray every morning that Jesus will cultivate humility and simplicity in your heart.  Give one thing away every day and thank Jesus for blessing you with the many things you have.  In a world that celebrates wealth and power, remind yourself of things Jesus celebrated.  As you do, you will find riches beyond anything that fame, fortune, power, and/or titles could ever offer.  You will find provision in Jesus.

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