Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  This is the conclusion of the parable that Jesus told about the exalted prayer of the Pharisee compared to the humble prayer of the tax collector.  Jesus gave this teaching, according to Luke, in order to correct “those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.”

I suspect that relatively few people these days are like the proud Pharisee of the parable: convinced of their own righteousness and despising everyone else.  American society is remarkably egalitarian.  Few of us would be so attentive to social status as to despise someone for having a lower position.

At the level of desire, though, I believe that this parable still has traction.  Wouldn’t we like to be known for having some special gifts and talents?  Wouldn’t we like people to seek us out, in some ways, while passing over others to find us?  We have a desire to be exalted.  It is not so much that we want to look down on others, but that we want others to look up to us.  We want to be memorable.  What is the alternative?  To go by unnoticed, unrecognized, unremembered.

We must place this desire for exaltation in God’s hands.  Ask God to remember us, to take note of us and to exalt us.  In his own time and in his own way, he will do it.  “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

March 5th, 2016