I have no idea how my posts this week got on to male and female stuff in church. My intent this week was to write about Jesus’ ability to be abased and to abound.
Seriously. But I never got there.
I will summarize the Jesus thing.
When Jesus was dying on the cross, doing what was necessary to save the world from their sins, He took time to look out for His mother.
I know this is common knowledge, but think about that. This is the Son of God, about to die, carrying the weight of the world’s sin before His Holy Father, this is the Creator and Savior of all mankind.
And He thinks about His mom being taken care of. Jesus knows how to be abased and how to abound. To be the Son of God and yet die. To be the Savior of all people and yet think about His mom’s well-being.
The first miracle that Jesus ever did, turning water into wine, was done because His mom told Him to do it. He refused her at first, His time was not yet come, but she tells the servants, “Just do what my boy says, you’ll be fine.”
This is the Son of God, God in the flesh, with all manner of power and virtue, and the first time He ever uses it is because His mom told Him too! Jesus knows how to abound and how to be abased.
Jesus gets, what we call, a Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, and yet that very night He leaves the city to dwell elsewhere. He is the King of Kings, pretty much acknowledged as such, and instead of putting up banners and having an entourage and starting Facebook so He could post a selfie of Him on His donkey, He leaves the city. Jesus knows how to abound and how to be abased.
Jesus gets transfigured, talks with Moses and Elijah, shows off some glory and tells the disciples who saw it not to tell anyone. Jesus knows how to abound and how to be abased.
When Paul says, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound,” most people assume he is saying that when things are good I’m content and when things are bad I’m content. I’m happy when I’m hungry and when I’m full.
This is part of what he means, but I think he’s also pointing to something much greater. That when things are going well, I can still be humble, I still remember the lowly and the bad. When things are bad, well, I remember the good and can still, even in chains before my captors, tell them I wish you were like me.
Christians live the duality that is in Christ. We are Sons of God, and yet strangers and pilgrims. We have and possess all, and yet we live as though everything is passing away. We abound and are abased.
This is cool. One of the fascinating paradoxes of Christian living.