“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves” (Philpians 2:3)
Nicholas was the first son of a very rich man, and that made him very arrogant, he treated every one of his father’s slaves with disdain and respected no one. One day he went to his father and asked, “Dad, how many slaves do we have in this house?” His puzzled father looked at him and replied: “I have got so many slaves that I don’t know how many there are, but what do you need the information for?” Nicholas replied, “I think we should count the number of slaves we have so that everybody will know how influential you really are”. But don’t you think that would hurt their feelings, being counted like goats?”, his father asked. “Who cares, they are slaves, aren’t they?” Nicholas countered. “Alright”, his father said with a sigh. “Summon all the slaves for a headcount this evening, and it will be done in the presence of all the family members.”
Later that evening, when everybody was seated, the rich man started to call the slaves one by one to introduce themselves. After every slave had introduced themselves ( a process which took some time as the slaves were quite many), the rich man declared: “I thank all of you for your patience, by now all my slaves have introduced themselves, but there is a particular slave here whom has not introduced himself and whom I will introduce by myself”. He pointed at Nicholas, “this young man here is the son of a female slave who died at childbirth, when he was born. God had not yet blessed my wife with the fruit of the womb, so we adopted him and raised him as my own children. Nicholas is a slave and not my son at all.
All eyes suddenly turned on Nicholas who burst into bitter tears, in a tearful voice, he cried “but master, how could you do this to me?” His master replied “remember what I told you, when slaves are counted, their feelings are always hurt”. This led to a Yoruba adage in Nigeria , “bi a baka eru, inu eru a baje”. meaning, every human being regardless of stature is a creature with feelings that can be hurt, avoid saying hurtful words, or doing hurtful things to people simply because you are better off; every human being deserves his dignity and self-esteem.
Jesus Christ left his glory in order to share in our humanity. The Bible says, “…he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Apart from the Jews who were biological children of Abraham, we are all adopted sons of God. John 1:11-12 says, “He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (NLT). The right access we enjoy in God was bestowed on us by grace. We must never forget this great privilege!