S84P3 – As mercy reigns: humility grows

Luke 18:11-14

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

That car was his baby.  He had not been trained in auto mechanics, but he insisted on taking care of her himself.  He learned how to change the oil and replace the breaks.  Other than annual inspections he was not authorized to perform, he did not want anyone else touching her.  Not long into his ownership he encountered a problem he could not diagnose.  He spent days tinkering under the hood and trying to figure out why she would not run.  When asked why he did not simply take her to a mechanic, he insisted that he did not trust anyone else with his baby.  That, however, was not exactly the truth.  The real reason he did not visit a mechanic was because it required admitting that he could not figure out the problem and needed someone’s help.

Mercy and humility work together in an interesting way.  Those who seek mercy first must admit that they need it.  They must come to the realization that they cannot provide this for themselves, and they need God to intervene.  The tax collector who cried out for mercy did not view himself highly but recognized his need.  When we seek mercy it must be from the same place of humility, and humility should abound not only when we seek mercy but also once we receive it.  Every time God’s new mercy comes our way, the extent of our need should become clearer and clearer.  This shows us how lowly we are when compared to the father of mercy, and his willingness to pour on us his grace should bring us to our knees in gratitude. 

Relying on God’s mercy over and again should show us just how far we fall short of his glory.  This is not to beat us down, but it serves to make us humble as we should be.  God’s mercy is a necessity, and only He is great enough to grant it.  He is the creator of mercy, and it should humble us to think that He would even entertain being merciful toward us.  When we need to cry out for grace, it highlights just how much we truly rely on him because we simply cannot do for ourselves.  Mercy requires that we be humble on the way in and on the way out.  Father, increase our humility to come before You and seek your mercy, understanding just how much we need You.