Be Humble, Everyone!
This story told by Jesus is a familiar one to many. It’s the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector from Luke 18:9-14.
I won’t go into the parable itself; we can do that in class, but this story does remind me of several people I know and you probably know too. It’s about religious people who spend much of their time telling others how great they are and how religious they are. They lift themselves up and make others feel inferior. There are those who make up stories to impress others. There are those who even lie and eventually believe their own lies. Sadly, this behavior has been going on from ancient history and still goes on today, even from the pulpit.
These people are self righteous. They pray with misplaced confidence. Friends, faith lets us look beyond our circumstances and fixes our eyes on the Author of our faith and our Heavenly Father Who cares. The Bible tells us that “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Sooooooo, here’s the deal. We must ask ourselves…How do we know when we’ve crossed the line from having a holy confidence in God, to an un-holy confidence in self? Have you ever thought to yourself,” I am more spiritual than him or her?” Have you listened to a sermon and the person a few pews away comes to mind? Under what circumstances is it appropriate to compare ourselves to others? Do you tithe but wonder why others don’t? Are you glad that you are better than many others that you know?
Friends, this Sunday school lesson should teach us that when we feel that we have it going on and we feel more blessed than others, we need to humble ourselves and concentrate on lifting others up. The tax collector in this parable beat his chest and declared he was a sinner, asked God to have mercy on him, and because of that, Jesus said, “He went home justified!” How do you and I avoid self-exaltation? How does your church avoid it? Beloved, humility is a matter of the heart and a complete understanding of our relationship with the Lord. This week, go out there and show love. Go out there and show humility. Go out there and look for others who need you to boost them up, to share their pain, and to listen. May God bless you this week as you and I search our hearts for humility and to be instruments of His peace. Amen.