Last night, my daughter showed me a book she was reading titled Stone Fox.
“I didn’t know John Reynolds Gardiner wrote a book about me!” I immediately exclaimed. “Oh wait…it would be Stone Cold Fox if it were about me.”
I often quote my friend Jon who frequently stated, “I’m not cocky, I’m confident.” One can be confident and still be humble, it’s just one would never claim to be humble. The very statement would refute the claim. This summer, my pastor preached a sermon series on the Fruit of the Spirit. During his sermon on gentleness, he referenced two individuals from Scripture who truly embodied the fruit of gentleness—Moses and Jesus. As he continued to banter on, I sat in the balcony and began to wax theologically on my own accord—as I quite often do during ANY sermon. I know this is not the “acceptable” thing to do, but in my defense, I may have a slight case of ADHD. Rarely do sermons keep 100% of my attention.
In Rose Publishing’s Fruit of the Spirit pamphlet, we defined “gentleness” as a humble, non-threatening demeanor that derives from a position of strength and authority, and is useful in calming another’s anger. Gentleness is not a quality that is weak and passive.
My pastor focused on the humble demeanor of gentleness, and quoted Numbers 12:3 and Matthew 11:28-30 to support his argument.
“Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Since it’s traditionally accepted that Moses is the author of the book of Numbers, my first tangent during this sermon was, “Well…Moses couldn’t be THAT humble if he just wrote that he’s more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. That’s high praise! He kind of just contradicted himself.” See, this is what I do in church.
Jesus, on the other hand offers his hand to those who are burdened. Jesus didn’t have to subject his listeners to unnecessary propaganda.
At this point, I was gone. My pastor’s message was lost in the rafters somewhere, and I was drifting away in the seas of ambiguity. I began to look at how Aaron and Miriam were attacking Moses’ wife and how Moses didn’t stand up for her. I thought to myself, “Come on Moses, step up to the plate, fight for your beauty.”
I read the passage again. God didn’t even give Moses a chance to fight for his beauty. God had Moses’ back from the get-go. God called Aaron and Miriam out and let them have it…striking Miriam down with leprosy. Interestingly, Moses didn’t let it end with God’s wrath. He fought for the redemption of Miriam. He prayed for her healing and recovery and God granted his request.
If God fought for Moses’ bride with such vigor and indignation, how much more will he fight for the bride of his only Son?
As Christ’s beauty—as Jesus’ bride—I find it comforting to know that God will stand up for me when others persecute me and insult me because of my groom. Jesus is my gentle and humble groom and when I’m burdened and weary, I can find rest in his loving arms. When I’m attacked, God will step in and take out those who oppress me. But Jesus doesn’t let it end with God’s wrath. Jesus fights for the redemption of our oppressors. Jesus prays for their healing and recovery and God grants His request. Jesus is pretty awesome…humble…not cocky, but confident.
Oh yeah…and I’m still a stone cold fox!