Summary: A message about the necessity of humbling our hearts, as shown by Jesus in LUKE 14:1-14. It is an explanation of this passage.
“But the greatest among you shall be your servant.”
When I was a teenager, I remember telling my father that I wanted to be a successful businessman when I grew up. He asked me what type of business I wanted to work in, and I told him I didn’t know, I just wanted to be a businessman. Looking back, I was seeing myself as somebody others would look up to. Not a good reason to do anything in life!
So much for the detailed thinking of a teenage boy! But I remember my father gave me two pieces of information, and both have proven themselves to be true and of great worth.
He said, “A great man is always willing to live in the shadows of his success,” and then he followed that bit of wisdom up with, “The most difficult secret for a person to keep is the opinion he has of himself.”
I have found in my life that I have gained the most success during those times I did not care who got the credit. By staying in the shadows I was able to keep my focus on the job at hand, instead of being distracted by taking the bows. I have also found, especially as I have gotten older, that I am not nearly as great as I used to think I was. In other words, my self-opinion had to be grounded in reality, and not be self-delusional.
Okay, so what does all this father-son wisdom of yesterday have to do with my being a Christian today? It has everything to do with it if I truly want to be the best Christian I can be. For me, or for you, to be a good Christian we must have a humble heart. We cannot put too much importance on ourselves lest we get puffed up with self-righteousness. When we do that, we automatically put ourselves above others, and Christians are not supposed to do that. So we must be humble of heart.
But to do it right, we must understand what the word “humble” really means. With the wrong idea of humility, we could end up putting ourselves down, thinking we are less than we really are. We could end up with downcast eyes and refusing to look up. As believers, we need to know that being humble is nothing more than faithful obedience unto an Almighty God: To be fully reliant upon the Word and the Spirit of our Lord.
We can be humble and still go forward with the knowledge that we are doing a good work for Christ. We can have the confidence that what we do is making a wonderful difference for God. The difference is that one puts the focus on us and the other puts the focus on God. And if we are putting the focus on God, we will be obedient to Him.
The Lord Jesus, our beloved Savior was obedient to God, even to the point of dying on the cross. And through His humble obedience, salvation came into a dark and evil world. Humility brings about the will of God, and to help us understand this complex issue, let us begin by asking a simple question.
1. IS IT WRONG TO WANT WANT PERSONAL RECOGNITION?
Have you ever noticed how we like to award ourselves? I am always amazed at how the Hollywood crowd all gathers together once a year to give themselves awards based upon how well they did in a particular film. They make it seem that they should be worshiped for being so good at what they do.
But it isn’t just the Hollywood crowd that seeks to award themselves. It goes all the way down the line from athletes to little league baseball players and everyone in between. We all love to be esteemed and adored, don’t we? I believe it is these awards that feed our insecure need for attention.
I am reminded of the difference between a dog’s heart and a cat’s heart. One is humble and the other is not. The owner reached down to pet his dog and the dog thought, “Wow! He is such a God!” The owner then reached down to pet his cat and the cat thought, “Wow! I must be a God!” The problem with humans is that we all have a corner of our minds where we have this perverse tendency to think as the cat thinks.
Satan uses the oldest marketing trick in the world against us, and that trick is to make us think we are so good we deserve to be rewarded. So, as Christians, should we indulge in the act of self-rewarding? If we do good things and end up being recognized for them, should we not also be receptive to being honored for our achievements? Let’s take a look and see what Jesus says about this.