In society today, humility may be seen as a weakness. When we look at those people whom we may see as role models, in sports, politics, business or entertainment, we often notice that they seek attention and adulation. Often they see themselves as better than they see others.
Pride is root of all evil; the chief sin that often leads us to other sins. It is the belief that all we are and all we have are the result of our own efforts alone.
Mohammed Ali often boasted, “I am the greatest.” In the boxing ring, he easily dispatched most of his opponents. However, age and injuries took their toll and Parkinson’s disease robbed him of his physical and mental abilities in his later life.
Carly Simon sang, “You’re So Vain” about a man who had everything- wealth, talent, and good looks- but who was shallow and had few real friends.
On the other hand, humility is gratitude for what we have, recognizing our dependence on God. It is a lack of conceit and a modest view of ourselves. It is an emphasis of goodness, a call to follow Christ and to trust in the wisdom and salvation of God in our lives.
When we look at Christ as our example, we can see that His glory came from His obedience to His Father’s will. Christ, the Son of God, gave up all to become a human like us. He was born, not in a castle, but in a stable. He grew up as any other child, subject to His parents. He worked most of His life as a tradesman, working with wood and stone and earning a daily living.
When Christ started His ministry, He was an itinerant preacher, going from village to village, depending on the goodness of others to provide Him with food and shelter. He freely shared His wisdom and His knowledge of God, His Father, and showed mercy and compassion to all who sought it from Him.
In the end, He meekly submitted Himself to His passion and death for the salvation of the human race. At any moment, He could have stopped it, but in humility, He trusted in His Father’s will. On Easter Sunday, He rose in Glory, conquering death and giving us hope for eternal life.
When Christ said, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted, He was inviting them to follow His example.
Being humble is recognizing our talents and abilities as gifts from God for us to use for the good of others.
Bob, a US census taker was interviewing a couple in the poorer section of town. The wife, Suzie, said, “Joe works for the borough.” Joe looked older than his twenty-something years and his hands were very rough, the hands of a man who works hard. “What do you do?” asked Bob, Susie responded, “Joe collects garbage. You know, I’m so proud of him. He is the best garbage man in the borough. He can stack more trash on the truck than anyone else can. They don’t have to make as many runs and that saves the borough money.”
“That’s incredible,” Bob answered. “It’s a difficult job. Most people would gripe about a job like that. Your attitudes are amazing.” Suzie said. “I am very proud of Joe and I always will be. You see, I don’t think the job makes the man. I believe the man makes the job.” With that, she showed Bob a quote that they had framed and hanging on the wall. It was from a speech by Martin Luther King.
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven will pause to say. “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”*
*© Bob Perks 2001
*© Bob Perks 2001