Summary: The basis of godly humility is rooted in the realization that none of us brings anything to God's table.
Title: You Know It Don’t Come Easy
Text: Luke 14:7-14 (14:1-6)
Thesis: Unlike arrogance, Godly humility plays well in the mind of God and the public eye… (but) The basis of godly humility is rooted in the realization that none of us brings anything to God’s table.
I remember when the Beatles came to the United States. Previously I had always worn a flat-top hair cut. But in the early 1960’s I began to sleep with my mother’s nylon hose tied in a knot and pulled down over my head to make my hair lay down. And though I was never as shaggy as were the Beatles… I had pretty good hair until I began wearing it short a few years ago.
The Beatles disbanded or broke up in 1970 and they all went their own ways… since John Lennon and George Harrison have died. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are still out and about. In 1971 Ringo Starr produced his signature song: It Don’t Come Easy. “If you wanna play the blues you gotta pay your dues, you know it don’t come easy.” It was a song about forgetting about the past and embracing the future. It was a song about trust, love, coming together and working things out. And the signature line woven throughout the song is, “You Know It Don’t Come Easy.” I suspect that pride or, as it were, artistic differences were at the heart of the break-up of the Beatles.
Humility apparently does not come easy… the bible has plenty to say about it:
• Solomon wrote of pride in the Book of Proverbs with memorable adages like, “God mocks the proud but gives grace to the humble” and “Pride goes before a fall” and “a man’s pride brings him low.” Proverbs 3:34; 16:18 and 29:23
• Paul wrote, “For by the grace given me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3
• James wrote, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.” James 4:10
• Peter wrote, “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” I Peter 5:5
Interestingly, on the night Jesus shared the Last Supper with his disciples they began to argue amongst themselves about who was going to get to be Secretary of State when Jesus established his Kingdom.
Jesus interrupted their little heated discussion and said, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people… but among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should be of lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table of course. But not here! For I am the one among you who serves.” Luke 22:23-27
“You Know It Don’t Come Easy” is pretty bad grammatically but it’s true of just about anything worth pursuing. If Christ-like humility was easy, everyone would be humble. It was the lack of apparent humility that prompted Jesus to do an impromptu teaching on the subject at a dinner party.
Jesus initially directed his comments at his fellow guests.
I. Humility has to do with how you see yourself in comparison to others. (In the teaching directed at the dinner guest Jesus speaks to the issue of self-importance and specifically addressed the tension between humility and self-importance. Luke 14:7-11)
“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11
In 14:1-6 Jesus had been invited to dinner at the home of a religious leader… people were watching him closely. It happened to be the Sabbath and once again there was a there person who was sick. He was suffering from some sort of edema, i.e., he was retaining fluid in his arms and legs. (I saw an episode o Downtown Abbey where, back in the day, it was referred to as “dropsy.”) This was not Jesus’ first “Healing on the Sabbath” Rodeo… In Luke 13:10-17 Jesus had shamed the leader of the synagogue for caring more for his thirsty donkey than for a woman who had suffered a debilitating illness some 18 years.
Once again Jesus acted out of compassion for a suffering person and healed the man. He then turned to those who were giving him the evil eye and said to them, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your donkey falls into a pit don’t you rush out to pull him out?”
Again Jesus confronted the staunchly religious Pharisees with their own hypocrisy in holding closely to the Sabbath law by prohibiting Jesus from healing a suffering person while granting themselves considerable leeway in rescuing a donkey on the Sabbath. So there is the obvious tension between the compassion of Jesus and the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.