By Robert Halsey Pine
“…For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14 NRSV).
The tax collector in this parable prays, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” The Pharisee, of course, builds himself up, as he prays to God. Being humble before God is where we want to be. There is no feeling like that of placing ourselves before God and admitting that we are helpless without Him.
Being exalted by humbling oneself is not an easy place to get to. All the push and pull of everyday life makes it difficult to take the focus off of ourselves. Self-centeredness is a tough enemy, but when we turn loose and let God, we actually help ourselves. Seeking His will and recognizing our sinful state puts us on a path of personal success, with God Almighty as our head cheerleader.
It’s a matter of responding to the fact that God cares about us. I was 14 when I lost my father. We were just entering a time when our father/son relationship was maturing as I was maturing. I was very fortunate to have some adult male family friends that took an interest in me and provided me with the support that I was missing with my father’s passing. The fact that I knew that they cared about what happened to me inspired me to work hard. Their interest probably kept me from getting into trouble. Their caring for me made me accountable to them. Why would I want to disappoint someone who really cared about me? I worked hard to make them proud. I was honest with them and showed them my appreciation.
Such is our life in Christ. We need to be in Christian community to support each other and be accountable to each other in our walk with the Lord. We experience and serve God with and through each other. Together, we humble ourselves before God. We do this as individual children of God, who come together for strength and support on our journey.
Thank You Father, for being there for me. For caring for me in such a way that I want to please You in all that I do. And thank you Lord for my brothers and sisters, who care about me and help You care for me. Help me Father, to humble myself before You and please teach me how to use the strength that You give me as You exalt me. AMEN.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.