Humility is not a cheer-rousing subject. We don’t jump up and down in undiluted excitement waving sparkly pom-poms. It’s part of our sin nature to desire exaltation. We long for recognition and some of us make a search for significance our god. Striving and straining we work to become “important” even within Christian circles. Our striving may not be outward, but inwardly we envy the woman on stage, the retreat coordinator, the Bible study leader, or the one who can sing like angels. We look up to them and wish we were in the “in crowd”.
Christ calls us to humble servant hood. Philippians 2:3-5 challenges us. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Whoa! That’s one tall order sister!
I found the following story about humility that I thought you’d enjoy.
Adam said, “Lord, when I was in the garden, you walked with me everyday. Now I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me.
God said, “No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will know I love you, even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish, childish, and unlovable you may be this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself.” And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam. It was a good animal, and God was pleased. The new animal was pleased to be with Adam and he wagged his tail.
Adam said, “But Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and all the good names are taken. I cannot think of a name for this new animal.”
God answered, “No problem! Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG.” Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him and loved him. Adam was comforted, and God was pleased. Dog was content and wagged his tail.
After a while, it came to pass that Adam’s guardian angel came to the Lord and said, “Lord, Adam has become filled with pride. He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught him that he is loved, but no one has taught him humility.”
The Lord said, “No problem! I will create for him a companion who will be with him forever and who will see him as he is. The companion will remind him of his limitations, so he will know that he is not worthy of adoration.” And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam. Cat would not obey Adam, and when Adam gazed into Cat’s eyes, he was reminded that he was not the Supreme Being. Adam learned humility, and God was pleased. Adam was greatly improved, and Cat did not care one way or the other.
If you find yourself struggling to grasp humility, you might just try praying for a cat! Choose a question from chapter 11 and share your insights with us.