I think it is important to think about how we frequently treat others. Sometimes, for example, we only treat people nicely who are pleasant and easy to deal with. All too often we are only nice to people we like, or at least to those who don't bother us.
How do you treat or react to drunkards, social-misfits or drug addicts? How would you treat a homeless man in his 30's who lives off charity and wanders from town to town? How would you treat Jesus if he was with us today (Matthew 25:34-40)?
I say these things because Jesus, who was and is greater than any other man, would at a glance appear to many as a homeless nomad and not much else. This is the way that Jesus appeared to humanity because his life illustrates his profound humility.
Jesus did not appear in golden chariots or on clouds, but was born in a very smelly and dirty barn to poor parents. He grew up most of his life not as a scholar or academic, but as a carpenter, a man with little status and as an adult owned little to nothing. "And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."" (Matthew 8:20).
If the son of God chose to live such a humble life, how much more should we consider living humble lives, us who are very little!
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." (1 Peter 5:6)
Many of the most important figures in the Bible had very humble lives, especially the prophets. We are all called to be humble, though this may be in different ways. While David, for example, was humble in the presence of God, he was still a king and materially wealthy. But what is clear is that in whatever form God calls us to be humble we must first be humble to lifted up by God, and consider all others as better than ourselves.
This is something quite difficult to put into practice, as it requires some radical changes in lifestyle. It means that we must treat everyone, not matter how flawed or unlovable as better than us.
This includes everyone who has every hurt us or done us wrong. It also means that we shouldn't consider ourselves better than others because some attribute we have. For me this is the hardest, as my intelligence often becomes a barrier to humility.
But most importantly, Jesus treated everyone above himself and was willing to die for everyone, even those who murdered him. In some of his last words Jesus said: "...Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing..." (Luke 23 verse 34).
As with everything in Jesus' character, we should try to replicate his enduring humility, and God will surely lift us up towards him. May we try to be humble to the dying breath.
Nathanael Yates from Perth, Western Australia, is an award winning young scientist completing a PhD in the neurobiology of schizophrenia
Nathanael Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/nathanael-yates.html