Why One Person is Always in Need of Another

Pentecost 15 Saturday

Luke 14:11

“For he who exalts himself shall be humbled; and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.”

Humility belongs to a Christian as one of the noblest and most necessary virtues. It is also the noblest bond of Christian love and unity, as Paul says in Ephesians 4:3…For God must have many different offices and stations in life; this is also why he gives many different gifts. Thus, he arranges things so that one person always is in need of another person and no one can make do without the other…God ordains and gives many offices–and Christ, God’s Son seated at the right hand of the Father, gives many gifts–also to test us whether we would fear and serve him in them and lower us all the more. For he wants to have this humility from us which is also his due. If we do not show this humility in this life, we will finally be thrown down all the more in death. God wants to have all stations in life at once and wants to feed them as his guests, seat them, and honor them, so that no one should complain. Yet each should be content with what has been given to him and not exalt himself above others, although he is much higher and greater before the world than others. Christ, God’s Son, was also high and noble; and yet he made himself equal to poor people like us. In fact, he humbled himself below all, Philippians 2:8. A woman must be a woman and cannot be a man; and yet she is God’s creature and in a divine station in life that she should bear, feed, and raise children. I am a man, created for a different office and work–yet should I therefore be proud and say: I am no woman; therefore, I am better before God? Should I not, rather, praise God that he created both the woman and me through a woman and put me in my station in life? It is an un-Christian thing to despise another person because he is in a different station in life or does something other than what he is and does himself…Indeed, beware of Luke 14:11. For God will not and cannot tolerate such pride and haughtiness. For what do you have that you are so proud? What do you have out of yourself? And is not another person, no matter who he is, God’s creature just like you? God does not want that other creature to be despised. For if you despise God’s creature, you also despise that creature’s Creator, as it says in Proverbs 14:32; 17:5. And if you insult a station in life, you insult the Lord himself…Therefore, although another person’s station in life is lesser than yours, you should nevertheless know that it too was created and ordained by God. You should also know that you have been put into your station in life to lower yourself and serve others, like a nobleman serves his prince at court or in the field and male and female servants serve their masters and mistresses. You are to perform this service for God’s sake. This is what true lowering or, as Christ calls it here, humbling would look like. God would in return exalt and raise you up before the whole world, with all honors.

St. Louis ed., 12:1981-1983.

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