Been thinking a lot lately about a little phrase that Jesus uses in Luke 18:14. He's finishing up His story about the prayers of the pharisee and the tax collector (missionary and abortion doctor) and He makes this statement:
...everyone who exalts himself
will be humbled,
but everyone who humbles himself
will be exalted
Jesus inverts things on us again. But that should not be new to us—you can't read very far in any of the Gospels and not catch that the realm that Jesus describes as the kingdom of God runs very differently from the world we normally live in. What is curious to me here is that Jesus is stressing how the humility or exaltation happens. There's a humility born of our failures that comes our way whether we seek it or not. Likewise, we can have our nose to the grindstone, minding our own business and find that our work meets with some level of success—and a level of acclaim is thrust upon on us whether we're looking for it or not. But this is not what Jesus is talking about here—he carefully chooses His words and is specifically targeting our passionate desire to see ourselves honored and exalted. It's he 'who exalts himself' and he 'who humbles himself' that is in focus.