Bible Verse: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-11

When I asked someone the other day how they were doing they replied, “I’m hanging on till summer.” My mind imagined a weary, worn down, overly burdened trooper being lifted to safety from a battle zone by a helicopter. He is outside the craft, hanging on for dear life to the landing skid, waiting white-knuckled for the craft to land. If you are the person in that picture, my advice is “keep hanging on.” Letting go will be hazardous to your health. Safety is close at hand. Rest is coming. Tighten your grip.

There is, however, another kind of “hanging on” going on. It has been a hot topic for years, for millennia, actually. The image is radically different from the one above. Here sits a man holding on to more than he needs while those around him suffer because of his indulgence. When asked to share, he refuses. When pressured to loosen up, he fights. Everyone else can suffer loss as long as he’s maintaining his place. Loosening his grip and letting go is not even a distant thought.

It would be easy to point the finger at politicians hanging on to their office long after they should have exited the scene, or at the super rich who wade in their luxury, completely ignoring the gripping poverty of the masses, or at dictators who continue to dish out life-shaping information to young minds long after it is proven false.

It’s much tougher to make this personal. It’s hard to focus on our tight-fisted grip of things that should be let go. Things like pride. I’m referring to the pride that causes a man or woman to strut around as if a cut above other people, as if others do not matter, as if others are in place only to strengthen their own. This “me first” pride is exposed on the playing field, in the classroom, on the street, at the party, in the office, the boardroom, and the bedroom.

The intellectual boasts of his mental superiority, snubbing the dumb peons who cannot comprehend his insight. The religious, often blinded by their own self-righteousness, distance themselves from those caught in the more obvious vices. The one with money or talent believes he actually deserves all the fame, recognition and privilege that has been entrusted to him.

How refreshing it is to find individuals who are willing to go against the powerful current of ignorance and pride. I believe this is one of the primary reasons why people from all over the world, from all cultural and religious backgrounds, deeply appreciate the person of Jesus Christ. He had every right to hang on. It was all His in the first place. Instead He let go. He gave up his glory. He refused any position of power. He held loosely all possessions. He resisted fame. He gave up His life.

Sometimes we need to hang on. Sometimes we need to let go. May you have the wisdom to know the difference.

— Dave Petrescue in Pastor Dave’s Reflections. Copyright © Brenda Petrescue, 2008. Used by permission

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