“O LORD, it’s hard to be humble when you are perfect in so many ways!”
Any of you who are Country and Western music fans, might well remember that song. It was popular many years ago and eventually the phrase made it into common usage. And while many of us would say that this represents a skewed viewpoint, I have to ask, really? If we are honest and think about it, many of us think about ourselves first, foremost and almost always. In fact modern thought and practice seems to be very focused on “me.” Really, whom do we spend most of our time thinking about; who is most important in our life? The answer is usually “us.” I am not going to condemn that because there are many legitimate concerns and issues where we do need to consider our needs and our welfare first. But there is a limit and there are many times when we need to put others first.
Jesus taught that it is important for us to practice humility. Humility is defined as the quality of being modest or respectful. We express this as someone who is humble. This is an attitude in which the person feels less proud or convinced of his or her own importance. If we look at Luke 14:7-11, the parable of the Wedding Feast, we learn what Jesus means by being humble. Jesus talks about being careful when invited to a wedding or other event; don’t seek to sit in the highest place of honor. Rather take a less prominent seat and maybe the host will invite you to take a place of greater honor. Jesus then sums up the teaching with a statement that is abundantly clear. Jesus says; “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (vs 11).
I think that there are two points that Jesus is making with this parable and statement. First is that in our daily life we need to be aware of others and the needs that they have. Instead of always putting ourselves first we need to look to the needs of our neighbors. In doing so we might find that they have needs greater than ours and we can help them. This is especially true, if they do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Then we can give them a gift by inviting them to join us at worship or just simply telling them about Jesus and all he did for them with his life, death and resurrection.
Secondly, I think Jesus is preparing us for when we will be called home and appear before God. Our attitude ought to be one of humility and humbleness when we come before our great God. We are there and cannot claim that we deserve to enter heaven by our own merit or because of anything we have done. We can only claim to be able to enter heaven by depending on what Jesus has done for us and that we accept and love Jesus as our Lord and Savior. When you fully understand that, no longer is it hard to be humble, because you know you are not perfect in any way.
Lord God heavenly Father, you are a great and most gracious, all-powerful and Almighty God. And I am a poor miserable sinner. Yet all my life you have been good to me and provided me with my daily bread and all I needed for my earthly life. But most importantly, you have given me the gift of your Son Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. I thank you for all those gifts and ask you to continue to walk with me and provide for me, knowing that I am a humble servant waiting to be with You for all eternity. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.