These two descriptive words are on opposite ends of the spectrum. They are often obvious, but sometimes hidden just beneath the surface. I was raised by parents of humble means and I was taught humility at an early age. I think that pride is the root of all sin. I believe that it raises its head when I least expect it. In fact, if I’m not careful, I can be “prideful” of my humility. How wacked out is that?
I have heard this story that Jesus told while teaching His disciples about humility. The story was very possibly one that was similar to a real-life situation. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were very proud of their education, their heritage and their position. They were devout followers of the law, at lease the part people could see. Jesus called them “white-washed tombs” at one point – “pretty on the outside, but full of dead men’s bones on the inside.” Check this out…
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 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! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
13 “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.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:8-14 NLT)
The Lord cares way more about what is happening inside my heart rather than the “show” that everyone else sees. I do try my best to navigate each day without becoming “full of myself” when I accomplish something good. I must give the credit where it’s due – the Lord can do amazing things through me. The minute that think “it’s about me”, then I’ve become prideful and useless in God’s economy. I am thankful that the Lord uses regular people like me to serve in His Kingdom. It’s not about a title or position. He cares more about my “serving heart” than He cares about my accomplishments, accolades or my bank account balance. I’m convinced that if He can use me, He can, and will use anyone.
When I reflect on the giants in the faith, whose shoulders I’m standing upon, a theme runs through it – they were all humble and gentle in spirit. They were simply followers of the Lord who wanted to know Him more. They were disciplined in their study of His Word and disciplined to pray about everything. I want to pray more and worry less. I want to know Him more and worry less. I want to trust Him more and live less stressed. I want to be humble and kind – serving others because He calls me to do just that.