Summary: It shouldn’t be hard to be humble, but it is.
“O, Lord, It’s Hard to Be Humble…”
By: Rev. Kenneth E. Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
You wouldn’t think it would be all that difficult.
We were all formed from the same dust of the earth, by the same Creator.
Basically, our bodies are pretty much the same.
We all get sick, we all need to eat, all of us are lonely at times, everyone has insecurities and fears, and we’re all going to get old (Lord willing) and then eventually die.
I remember as a real young kid I thought that the guy who played the Six-Million Dollar Man on t-v and was married to Farrah Fawcett--Lee Majors was just the coolest person in the world—almost god-like!
Then, one day, my dad told me: “Kenny, Lee Majors has to put his pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else.”
This revelation was quite startling, and at first, a little difficult to accept.
It is hard to come to grips with the fact that the idols we worship are no better than we are.
And it may be harder still, for us to realize that we—ourselves--are no better than anyone else.
I remember when my sister Lisa found out that she was going to have to get glasses.
She ran into the house, up the stairs, and into her room crying and wailing!
I asked my mother why Lisa was so upset by the fact that she needed glasses.
My mother replied: “Don’t worry Kenny, Lisa has just found out that she is not perfect.”
Ever since the first two humans, Adam and Eve, gave into the serpant’s temptation in the Garden…and realized they were naked…
…we humans have been trying to sew fig leaves together in order to make coverings for ourselves.
But what was true in the Garden of Eden is true today—from birth to death—all of us stand naked before the God who created us.
Nothing is left uncovered.
So you wouldn’t think it would be all that difficult to be humble…but horror of horrors—it is very difficult!!!
Our Gospel Lesson for this morning begins with this: “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable…”
So, this parable is directed to teach those of us who are confident of our own righteousness and look down on everybody else-- a lesson.
I would guess that we all fall into this category at different times during our days and our lives.
When we pass the beggar on the median of the 4 lane highway…
…do we look down on him or her?
Or have we ever looked down on him or her?
When we see some of the situations that take place in 3rd world countries…say, like the way they wash their clothes…
…or the kind of clothes they wear…
…do we look down on them?
Do we somehow think of them as at least a little less human than we?
And what about righteousness?
Are we, at times, confident in our own righteousness?
For example, do we think that because we are not murderers or adulterers, that we are somehow righteous?
How many of us have gotten extremely angry—and held hatred and contempt in our hearts toward another human being?
Those who have Jesus says “will be subject to judgement” …and … “…will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
How many of us have held lust in our hearts?
For those of us who have Jesus tells us that we have “already committed adultery” in our hearts.
Isn’t Jesus basically telling us: “Get over yourselves…you can’t do it on your own…none of you are righteous…you all need to humble yourselves, ask for forgiveness and be saved!?
So how do we go about humbling ourselves?
I don’t know about you, but I’m humbled by someone or something which is much greater than I.
We’re very good at trying to build ourselves up by comparing ourselves to other sinners, but how about comparing ourselves to Jesus Christ?
Will this not cause us to be humbled to the very dust?
Look at Jesus Christ…
… “Who,” as Paul writes in Philippians chapter 2, “being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name…”
This is what humbles us.
Jesus emptied Himself.
How many of us are able to empty ourselves?
So many of us work so hard, get so stressed out, and expend so much energy trying to make others think we are something great.