on humility. . . your thoughts? James #14
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I have a weekly conference call with my corporate brothers - in fact, I just set my eyes on the aqua post-it note I wrote to capture the prayer of my brother from Portugal on 3.1.17 - "Thank you once again to be in your presence. It is great to be here with the brothers. I want to pray for the world . . ." Every Wednesday morning, we set aside 30 minutes to pray together - to commit to God the work of our hands, the things on our hearts . . . and then, we ask God for wisdom, his wisdom.
Friends, turn your hearts for a few minutes now to consider the difference between worldly wisdom and the wisdom of God. "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from Heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3.13-16 And then over a few verses, James 4.6 says, "But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Godly wisdom is humble. "Lord, teach us about humility, won't You?"
Humility . . . another one of the words that captures a spiritual concept that we ought apprehend and make part of our character; another virtue that the world doesn't value or teach much about. MERCY, OBEDIENCE, and now HUMILITY. . . all elevated by James.
Humility is not being self-effacing; it is not a lack of confidence. Humility is seeing ourselves in correct position before our Maker and with other people.
What do you think of your position before the Lord? Where do you place your own value in regard to others? Who are the 'others'? those I know and love, those I just know, those I know and don't esteem too highly, those I don't know at all. How do I treat them? It has been said that 'the sign of a gentleman is how he treats those who can be of absolutely no use to him.'
The Scriptures hold out humility as a virtue to be sought after, a quality to embody, a discipline to be practiced and honed. It is revered in both the Old and New Testaments. About 800 years before Christ was born, at a time when Israel and Judah had risen to heights of economic affluence yet had fallen to depths of spiritual decadence, the prophet Micah penned, "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6.8 Then there was Moses, about whom God said was "more humble than anyone else on the face of this earth." (Numbers 12.3) Think of it, then God used this humble man to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, parting the Red Sea for them to escape the pursuing Egyptian armies; God used Moses to continue to lead the people, entrusting to him the 10 Commandments. Moses humble>>> then God honors and exalts him. That is a pattern repeated in Scripture.
What did Jesus have to say about humility? Matthew 18.14 in answer to the disciples' question, "Which of us is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?" Can't you just see them standing there, looking at Jesus, thinking 'pick me, pick me!' Jesus called a small child over to Him and put the child among them. Then He said, "I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven." The disciples were left standing there, scratching their heads, having to consider what it was about that child. . . so, what is it about a child? I think of a recent friend who told me that what really turned on his quest for Christian truth was his daughter. . . why? Well, children trust more simply, love with abandon, aren't spoiled by the 'wisdom' and teaching of the world; children are teachable.
Then there is this ~ what the senior President George Bush said of Ronald Reagan in his eulogy~ "Days after being shot, weak from wounds, he spilled water from a sink, and entering the hospital room aides saw him on his hands and knees wiping water from the floor. He worried that his nurse would get in trouble. The good book says humility goes before honor, and our friend had both, and who could not cherish such a man?"
This simple illustration of the humility of President Ronald Reagan who thought of others before himself reminds me of the feelings and worth of every person, no matter their position, no matter their title or lack of one.
Let's pursue humility today, my friends; let's teach our children to be humble - to think of themselves less and to think of others more. Let's hold it as a premium to be embodied in the workplace.