"He who sacrifices a whole offering shall be rewarded for a whole offering; he who offers a burnt-offering shall have the reward of a burnt-offering; but he who offers humility to God and man shall be rewarded with a reward as if he had offered all the sacrifices in the world."— The Talmud
(Gospel text: Mt 23:1-12)
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
"The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people's shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'
As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.'
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called 'Master';
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
Humility is not humiliation. True humility is not putting ourselves down but facing reality. The word "humility" derives from the root word meaning "earth." Humility is being "down-to-earth," realistic. Reality is that we are "earthen vessels" (2 Cor 4:7). We cannot save ourselves, no matter how hard we try (Ps 49:8; Is 26:18). Reality is that we can trust our heavenly Father completely. He is perfectly faithful.
Do you show signs of pride by the way you talk, work, dress, buy, think, or even pray? Have you avoided signs of pride but deep down you know that you are proud of not looking proud or even of appearing humble? Pride is so deceitful and self-deceptive.
Our American society is "fond of places of honor." While the Lord does call us to honor our parents (see Dt 5:16; Sir 3:2ff) and all people (1 Pt 2:17), He is adamant that we do not seek honor for ourselves.
It is helpful to remember that Jesus, God Himself (Jn 1:1, 18), emptied Himself and became a human being (Phil 2:7). This act of humility is beyond comprehension.
Therefore, "Let another praise you — not your own mouth; someone else — not your own lips" (Prv 27:2).