Summary: Our prayers should be that of the Publican
Text: “…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).
Do you know anyone who has a tendency to exalt himself or herself? Those people who are always praising themselves, applauding themselves or paying tribute to themselves are exalting themselves. They are glorifying themselves.
We all know at least one person who falls into this category. Maybe the one person we know is none other than us. Have you ever thought about that?
We should not think poorly of ourselves because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). However, we should not go to extremes and keep telling other people and God how important we are, what we have done for others, how we have supported His work or anything else of this nature.
God already knows how good we are and what we have done with the time, talent and goods He has provided for us. We are very visible to the people who encounter us, so they know if our talk and our walk coincide. We are unable to hide anything from God and most people are smart enough to figure out if we are really the person we project.
On the other side of the coin is the humble person. A humble person is meek, modest or unassuming. This person is just the opposite of the person who always praises himself. I would venture to say there are as many humble people as there are people who like to exalt themselves.
“No Need to Mention the Name!”
One day, crossing a New York City street, a woman became confused, and stepped directly in front of an approaching streetcar. People on both curbs were sick with horror at her sure fate, when a powerful man rushed forward and not only rescued her from the streetcar, but also carried her to safety on the sidewalk.
It was a miracle of bravery and quick thinking. A police officer said to the hero, “I’ll have to report this incident, sir, and I ought to mention your name for valor.”
“There will be no necessity for mentioning my name.” “But I must put down something, sir,” the police officer insisted. “Then,” smiled the hero, “just put down that a black man did it,” and with that he disappeared in the crowd.
A ripple of admiration went softly through the crowd. “A black man did it.” What modesty! What quiet dignity! What modesty! What quiet dignity! What an honor to the whole race of black men! The man was Dr. Robert R. Morton, President of Tuskeegee Institute!
Southern Baptist Convention
This is an excellent example of a modest man. He did not think about himself. It was not necessary for others to know his name. He did not want credit for his deed. Praise was not something he desired. Here was a humble man. He was a sinner saved by grace.
Jesus brought this parable to the forefront to get the attention of those people who considered themselves righteous. These people also had a tendency to look down upon other people.