"Walking in Self-enforced Humility"
In a world where ambition often compels people to do whatever it takes to rise to positions of power over others, God calls His people to a new way of living. We come to church each week, listen attentively to scripture, and learn that we should always be humble; just like Jesus Christ our Lord. Humility is impressed upon us by education, work and demands of life. This being the case, I can say that humans are not humble by nature; and our mistakes in this area need to be corrected. Jesus said in our Gospel today, Luke 18:14 “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Our Lord Jesus often used parables to give His message to the people. The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican is learned well only to the degree that, each time we hear it, we find ourselves with nothing to claim but our dependence on God's mercy. When Jesus Christ died for us, all things changed. He erased before God the divisions of humanity.
In the story we might judge too quickly that the Pharisee is being self-righteous. However, what if what He said about the tax collector were true? We may not say it the same way he did, but when we see someone down on his luck, what do we say? We should not make the mistake of comparing ourselves with others and gaining confidence from what we see in that comparison. Our standard of comparison is God Himself, and we all fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23). We can see in the parable that one character makes a claim to righteousness based on his own accomplishments, while the other relies entirely upon the Lord's benevolence, and does not seem grateful for His blessings. Proverbs 3:7 says “Do not be wise in your own eyes.”
May we not miss out on the true nature of God's blessings, and let us never forget to thank Him always. Let us make it our goal to humbly serve and love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.