In Muhammad Ali’s heyday as the heavy weight champion in boxing, he had taken his seat on a 747 which was starting to taxi down the runway for take off. The flight attendant walked by and noticed Ali did not have on his seatbelt, and said, “Please fasten your seatbelt, sir.”
He looked up proudly and snapped, “Superman don’t need no seatbelt.”
Without hesitation she stared at him and said, “Superman don’t need no plane.”
Sometimes we eat our words.
I know I have.
Jesus could see the hearts of the proud Pharisees… the church of his day.
Listen to his short hypothesis here.
7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
Jesus’ words are always fitting.
He knew what they needed to hear.
They were Self-Righteous. Entitled.
What’s the opposite?
Humility. Surrender to God. Dying to self.
“Will any one of you who has a servant…”
People of influence have servants.
1. People of accomplishment gravitate toward pride.
“Superman don’t need no seatbelt.”
Ex: Daniel 4, tells how King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream…
Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.
but in his dream an angelic "watcher" appears and decrees that the tree must be cut down…
Daniel interprets the dream for the king.
it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth.
“…this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, 25 that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”
Daniel 4:22, 24-25
The message of Nebuchadnezzar's madness is that all earthly power, including that of kings, is subordinate to the power of God.
Remember the fundamental attribution mistake?
At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”
Even after the dream! It’s easy to forget…
Pride seen in the wicked is one thing…
But pride in the body of Christ is the most dangerous…
It is possible to speak much and honestly of fellowship with a despised and rejected Jesus, and of bearing His cross, while the meek and lowly, the kind and gentle humility of the Lamb of God is not seen, is scarcely sought.
~ Murray, Andrew
“Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?”
A good servant isn’t working for affirmation or recognition.
2. The greatest accomplishments are unknown.
“So the last will be first, and the first last.”
This came when the master paid everyone the same even though the work was different.
Listen to the response of the righteous when they were rewarded…
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The righteous didn’t know the good they had done.
They didn’t do it for recognition.
Brother! nothing can cure you of the desire of receiving glory from men, or of the sensitiveness and pain and anger which come when it is not given, but giving yourself to seek only the glory that comes from God.
~ Andrew Murray
We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.
Doing the right thing because it’s right.
3. Seeking God’s glory is accomplishing something great.
Application: How does a person seek God’s glory?
A. Remember everything came from God anyway.
King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.
How great are his signs,
how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and his dominion endures from generation to generation.
B. Practice good deeds anonymously.
Matthew 6:1, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
C. Pray a prayer of submission every morning.
This prayer has been key for me in accepting this.
I will read once then please stand and read together if you would like.
Full Serenity Prayer:
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.