In 1936, Jesse Owens took part in the Olympics Games held in Germany. Owens was the son of a sharecropper and grandson of a slave. Going in, Adolf Hitler had boasted of his own Aryan superiority, yet Owens won four Gold medals. Jesse showed that despite his own humble beginnings, he could succeed. His faith in God, hard work, and persistence paid off. In 1983, the U.S. Olympic Committee inducted him into its Hall of Fame. In one of His parables, Jesus said pride and self-righteousness will not justify us before God. Luke 18 records this: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God.” Jesus then made clear the point of the parable: “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
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