On this day in 1978, September 15, boxer Muhammad Ali defeated Leon Spinks at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans to win the world heavyweight boxing title for the third time in his career, the first fighter ever to do so.
And I was there.
At the time, I was beginning my junior year at Tulane University. I was a Biomedical Engineering major and still trying to figure out what the Lord wanted me to do. The Superdome had only been open for 3 years and had begun hosting some major sporting events. (The previous year I had gone to the Superbowl between Dallas and Denver.)
Ali was considered to be, at least by his own admission, The Greatest boxer of all time. Humility was not his greatest characteristic. Contrast him with the man who was indeed the greatest to have ever lived – NOT by his own admission but by the testimony of millions throughout the last 2000 years… Jesus.
Jesus said in Matthew 23:11-12, “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” And it was said of Jesus by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2…
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Here is a lesson that Jesus taught and that He lived and that I hope you learn early on in your life: If you aspire to greatness, which is not a bad thing, first of all learn to look after the needs of other people. Learn how to serve others. Learn obedience to the Father. Learn humility. Then you will have no need to exalt yourself because the Father will exalt you and give you a position of influence in the Kingdom – not so that your name will be great but so that you can make His name great.
Never ever forget that you are very very loved!