We have to be ready to react properly when some praises and honors come our way. We should remain humble, knowing that all those praises and honors belong to God. “Deo omnis gloria!”
This is the lesson Christ wants to impart when he talked about the unprofitable servant. (cfr Lk 17,7-10) “Which of you,” he said, “having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’?” Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’?
“Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”
It is a lesson so relevant these days when a lot of the people, especially the so-called millennials, feel entitled to certain privileges and perks because of the things they have done or accomplished.
It’s true that the young ones of today get to know more things — at least, more technical things — than those of the previous generations. This reminds me of the lyrics of the song, What a wonderful world!, that goes: “I hear babies cry / I watch them grow / they’ll learn much more / than I’ll ever know / and I think to myself / What a wonderful world.”
But this does not mean that they are entitled to more privileges than what rightfully belongs to them or what God and others (their parents, superiors, etc.) would give them.
All of us should be humble enough to repeat those words, “We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do,” to remind ourselves that we actually are not doing anything special or anything more than what is our duty to fulfill.
And when we happen to receive praises and honors from others because of our good works, let’s keep our feet firmly stuck to the ground, not allowing ourselves to be intoxicated. We should not allow these praises and honors to go to our head and cast some evil spell over us.
Instead, we have to thank God profusely. All praises and honors belong to him. What we should realize also is that those praises and honors given to us are actually a sign that we have to give ourselves more to God and to others. Our sense of duty and responsibility should become sharper.
Those praises and honors that we receive are actually some kind of a test to see if we would still remain with God or we would now choose ourselves as our own god. We have to know how to pass that test, and so we need to really grow and deepen our humility.
We should never feel sad because we have chosen to deny ourselves to grow in humility amid the praises and honors. That self-denial is actually a big opening for the grace of God to come to us. That realization should make us very happy with a joy that would keep us simple, not proud and complicated.
We have to learn not to get spoiled by whatever praises and honors would come our way. Instead, let these honors trigger the urge to deepen our humility, to enrich our gratitude to God and to others, and to sharpen our sense of duty and responsibility.
What a beautiful world we would contribute to build up if we remain humble amid great honors!/WDJ