Psalm 131 will be the focus of this blog entry. Looking at Psalm 131; I couldn’t help but think of the line in a Clint Eastwood movie that says “a man has got to know his limits.” At the crux of this Psalm 131 we find humility. Now I don’t know about anyone else but this is the hardest of all Christian attributes to gain and maintain. I guess the reason is we like to have our egos stroked with compliments and praise. Being puffed up or arrogant usually doesn’t bode well for people in ministry. As I write this blog I have read several articles and reports about Bill Hybels and Willow Creek. To say this is devastating and disappointing is an understatement. Willow Creek has been a stalwart organization and ministry for thousands of believers. Bill Hybels has written great books on “seeker sensitive” groups. I was once overly impressed with Hybels when he discovered that Willow Creek after being evaluated was a “mile wide and an inch deep.” Hybels shut down the Willow Creek machine, for in the evaluation, it was discovered that the discipleship which was the flagship of Willow Creek was woefully substandard. I though very highly of Hybels for recognizing and shutting down operations until they fixed the problem. I don’t know what to say about all the allegations, so I won’t comment. Needless to say Bill is not the first nor the last of spiritual leaders to fall into sin. The bible is filled with men and women who have “skeletons” in the past. I recent wrote another article indicating that pastors and ministry people cannot allow the thought that they are bigger than the ministry itself. Others within my own denomination just this year have caused great hurt and disappointment. Frank Page, and Paige Patterson are two that quickly come to mind, I continue to pray for both of these men – knowing that except the grace of God it could be me!. Man is a sinner, we have a fallen nature; we must always remember that we are only one decision away from great failure.
In Psalm 131; the humility and genuine dependency on the strength and provision of the Lord ring with confidence ONLY in the Lord. Paul said he had learned that in whatever state to therewith to be content. But the writer here brings more than just a confidence in God, but also a great intimacy in relationship with the LORD. The picture of a child nestling a mother’s breast depicts this intimacy. The Psalmist goes on to describe this dependent intimacy exposing his heart of humility by not getting “airs” about himself; not boasting; to have haughty eyes or an arrogant heart. One of the decisions of most importance in ministry is to know what to engage in and what to stay away from. The Psalmist intentionally stays away from matters that “are too big for me.”
Too often in ministry there is the enticement to be known publicly, to have others know your name and to “be on the platform” at conferences. This all in a worldly sense tells you that you have arrived. Francis Chan did something a few years ago, that absolutely further raised my appreciation for him. He found that the “speaker’s circuit and platform personality” world got bigger and consumed him. He resigned his church, left the circuit and went to Indonesia for a year. He didn’t even preach for six months! He said he felt overwhelmed by it all and had to stop. Scripture says “woe unto you when all the world thinks highly of you.” Pride before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Knowing that this Psalm was written to be sung as Israel ascended to the Temple to worship, reminds us that we are not God. Idolatry worshipping something or someone other than God. We are but dust, that’s a good thought to remember when with more highly of ourselves than we ought [Romans 12:3].