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Down the Ladder to the Highest Place

How to find glory in humiliation
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Harmony and Humility in the Church". See series.


Editorial note: Sunukjian uses a six-foot stepladder as a prop throughout this sermon. References to the prop will be noted in the text in italics.

When my first year of graduate school in Dallas was over, I made the drive back to California for the summer. It's a two-day drive from Texas to California, provided you drive about 14 hours per day. The mid-point stopping place for the night is Deming, New Mexico. I didn't have much money, and I didn't want to spend much on my motel, so I stayed in a "roach motel." It was literally a roach motel; I had to put my shoes on the bed so that the roaches on the floor would not get into them during the night.

At the end of that summer, Nell and I married. On the return trip back to Dallas for the next year, we stopped again in Deming, New Mexico. For some reason, we didn't stay in that roach motel; we stayed in the next step up: Motel 6.

As the years have passed, Nell and I have moved up. We went from Motel 6 to Best Western. From Best Western, we're now up to Embassy Suites. I suppose the next step up will be the Hilton or the Ritz Carlton.

There's always a ladder to climb (pulls ladder toward himself), and the higher up the ladder we go, the more status we gain.

We rent a one-room apartment with a roommate to share costs. Several years later we buy a cheap condo. Then we get married and scrape enough together to buy a fixer-upper. Years later, we trade up for a home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Somewhere in the future lies a 3,500 square-foot house or that luxury apartment within a block of the ocean.

Or we make the team; we get in two games as a sub; we're first string; we're all conference; we get a scholarship to college; we're All-American; first round draft pick; ...

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Donald Sunukjian is Homiletics Chair and Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.

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