Reading: Matthew 22: 11-12
Verse 12: Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Jesus has just finished “teaching” the Pharisees about how un-humble they are. They love to be seen and heard, to be recognized and honored. Elsewhere in Scripture we are told that they already have their reward. Earthly accolades have no heavenly value.
Jesus tells them and us that there is a better way. In verse 12 He says, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”. He is speaking of here and there, of earth and heaven. Those who have exalted themselves here will be humbled one day. The Word speaks of the day when one will be taken and one will be left behind. The implication here for the Pharisees is that they will be humbled on that day.
The other side of Jesus’ advice applies to the disciples. If you are a humble servant now, one day you will be exalted. For the disciples and many others who would suffer for their faith, the ‘one day’ promise was powerful and encouraging. For people like Paul and his fellow workers for the gospel, they had many experiences that humbled them. They knew well the promise of one day being exalted.
Humility is sometimes in short supply today. In a culture that values and espouses power and position and possessions, humility can be hard to find. In our lives we occasionally have experiences that force humility upon us. But too often we choose to blame others or to make excuses for our failure. The other, more pressing, consideration has to do with our faith though. The question we must wrestle with as Christian is this: if we do not experience humility in our faith journey, are we risking too little for Jesus Christ? Are we playing it too safe? Are we holding back from the Spirit’s lead?
Jesus tells us that we will be humbled when we share our faith, lead other to belief, or love the least and lost in His name. When we step out in faith, when we risk much for the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is then that we become aware of His power and strength moving in and through us. We come to see that it is Jesus that saves, moves, loves. It has very little to do with us when we are truly humble servants. May we all seek to be humbled today.