“For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
— Luke 14:11
Bob showed up at my door to fix a few things around the house. After many weeks of trying to make an appointment, Bob had been able to fit me into his very busy schedule. What I noticed quickly was his humility. A quiet man of Mohawk heritage, he lived among us without fame, but he was sought after. He looked at my work, took pictures, and was remarkably thorough with his inspection. As our visit wore on and he got comfortable with my openness, he told me about his heritage. The heritage of being one of the very few Native Americans who lived in a mostly white community. A heritage where he and his brothers served their country. A heritage that made it hard for him to understand why they had to run a gas pipeline through a besieged group of people in South Dakota. Not judgmental, but seeking answers.
“He always paid him more than what he had assumed he would, because Bob was good at his craft and humble in his requests.”
Bob worked most days for fourteen hours. As I said, he was highly sought after. His request for payment was always “Pay for my materials and whatever else you think I am worth.” The friend who referred him to me, Chris, explained that this was Bob’s way. He always paid him more than what he had assumed he would, because Bob was good at his craft and humble in his requests. I am sure this unusual way of billing exposed him to being taken advantage of by others. But I am also sure that his humility and high quality of work inspired others to overpay. Bob is humble, thorough, and busy.
“When we humble ourselves, we invite God’s recognition of our humanity.”
In today’s verse Jesus makes an important life statement. He instructs us to be careful with how we view ourselves. To not make our successes higher than they are and to be humble in who we are. My friend Dick explains it by saying, “It’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice.” Jesus also issues a warning, that when we act higher than others, we invite downfall. When we humble ourselves, we invite God’s recognition of our humanity.
“Hubris is an untrustworthy companion, Humility can be trusted.”
Many times in my own career, after I had achieved a great success, I believed I was better than I was. Almost immediately these thoughts of greatness were erased by a calamity. In my youth I didn’t tie in the connection as well as I would later in life. But this pattern was consistent. It took me many years to realize that my success was the result of others and God. Later in life I would make the sign of the cross on my chest to thank God for recent successes and acknowledge others for their help. Hubris is an untrustworthy companion, humility can be trusted.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
How do we act when we succeed?
Do we take the time to recognize others and God for our successes?