Summary: To find the way to glory, humble yourself before God and one another, harden yourself against the devil, and by God’s grace, keep your hope in God.
Chan Gailey, who at various times coached for the Pittsburg Steelers, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Kansas City Chiefs told a story some time ago about the time he was head coach of Alabama’s Troy State and they were playing for the National Championship. The week before the big game, he was headed to the practice field when a secretary called him back to take a phone call.
Somewhat irritated, Gailey told her to take a message because he was on his way to practice.
She responded, “But it's Sports Illustrated.”
“I'll be right there,” he said.
As he made his way to the building, he began to think about the upcoming article. It would be great publicity for a small school like Troy State to be in Sports Illustrated. As he got closer, he realized that a three-page article would not be sufficient to tell the whole story. Coming even closer to his office, he started thinking that he might be on the cover. “Should I pose or go with an action shot,” he wondered. His head was spinning with all of the possibilities.
When he picked up the phone and said hello, the person asked, “Is this Chan Gailey?”
“Yes, it is,” he replied confidently.
“This is Sports Illustrated, and we're calling to let you know that your subscription is running out. Are you interested in renewing?”
Coach Gailey concluded the story by saying, “You are either humble or you will be humbled” (Chan Gailey speaking at a dinner in Dalton, Georgia, 4-20-04; www.PreachingToday.com).
Coach Gailey had visions of glory, but then reality set in. And that’s often the way it is with life. We get visions of glory, but reality gets in the way and we’re humbled in the process.
So how then do you find true glory? What is the way to true honor even when you have been humbled? What is the way to real respect even if you have to go through pain? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to 1 Peter 5, 1 Peter 5, where God’s Word shows the way to glory.
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (ESV)
If you want to receive God’s favor, then humble yourselves before each other. “Be subject” to those who are older. Literally, rank ourselves under them. And no matter what your age, tie on the apron of a slave and serve each other.
That’s what it means when it says, “Clothe yourselves with humility.” The noun form of the verb “clothe” was the apron of a slave in Bible days. And that’s the way we’re to relate to each other – all of us! We’re to behave like slaves for each other; otherwise, God Himself will stand in opposition to us.
“God opposes the proud,” verse 5 says. Literally, He sets himself in battle against those who appear like they’re above others. Now, that’s not a place you want to be – facing God like an army at war against you. So humble yourselves before each other and experience His grace. It’s the way to true glory and dignity whether you’re down and out or high and mighty.
In late 2000, Indra Nooyi was working late at PepsiCo. At around 9:30 pm her office phone rang. On the other line was a member of the corporate board who informed her that she would be the next president of the company. Nooyi was one of the first women to break this level of the corporate glass ceiling.
Nooyi went home to tell her family that she was going to be president of PepsiCo, and her mom opens the door. Nooyi’s mom was living with her at that time. Nooyi said, “Mum, I have got news for you,” and her mom said, “Before the news, go get some milk.” Nooyi said, “It’s ten o’clock in the night. Why should I get milk?”
But her mom would not take “no” for an answer, so Nooyi went and got the milk, came back, sort of banged it on the countertop, and said, “I had big news for you. I have just been appointed president of PepsiCo, and all that you care about is the milk.”
Her mom just looked at her and said, “What are you talking about? When you walk in that door, just leave that crown in the garage, because you are the wife, the daughter, the daughter-in-law, and the mother of the kids, and that’s all I want to talk about. Anything else, just leave it in the garage” (David M. Rubenstein, How to Lead: Wisdom from the World's Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers, Simon & Schuster, 2020, p. 189; www.PreachingToday.com).