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Headed for a Fall
Theme: He who exalts himself will be humbled. Proper 25 (30) Year C
Object: Building blocks.
Scripture: For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18:14b (NIV)

Every child at some time in their life has played with building blocks. I still remember the fun I had as a child building different things from these blocks. One thing that I remember very well is that I used to enter into a contest with another child to see who could build the tallest tower. The one who could stack up the most blocks without their tower falling was the winner. Did you every play that game? I thought it might be fun to play the tower game this morning. Here is the way we will play. For every good thing I can say about myself, I will add a block. Let's see, where shall I start?

I go to church every Sunday
I read my Bible regularly
I give an offering in Sunday School every week
I am kind to other people
I say my prayers before I go to bed at night
I obey my parents
I make my bed and keep my room clean
I share my toys with my friends
I hold the door open for other people
I never talk about my friends behind their back
(Keep going until your tower falls down.)

Crash! Well, my tower got just a little too tall, didn't it?

Jesus taught his disciples that whenever people boast and brag about the great things that they do, they are headed for a fall! He told about two men who went to the temple. One of the men bragged about all of the great things he did and thanked God that he wasn't like those other sinners in the temple. The other man, instead of bragging about how great he was, humbly asked God to forgive him for all of the times he failed to be the kind of person that God wanted him to be.

Jesus was not the least bit impressed with all of the boasting of the first man. Most of the things he did, he did to impress other people. Jesus said that we should be humble -- like the second man. After all, when we compare our goodness to the goodness of Jesus, it just doesn't stack up, does it?

Heavenly Father, help us to remember that when we build our life upon our own goodness, we are headed for a fall. Instead, let us put our trust in your righteousness, for then we will find favor in your sight. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

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An alternate sermon based on Luke 18:1-14: "The Pharisee and the Tax Collector"
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