The Christian Life, a Study in Humility
April 6, 2009, 18:01
Filed under: History, roots of Willohroots, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

humbledmanDoes humility come easy to any of you?  If so you have my respect and God forgive me,  envy.  Don’t worry , I will get rid of the envy by leaving it at the foot of the cross, and repent, but I could not deny it without false testimony.  Humility has NOT come easy to me.  I always wanted to be the “….est” at something.  Smartest,  coolest, toughest, quickest, some measure of outstanding achievement or performance.  It may have been a result of being the youngest [there it is again], smallest[oh boy], fattest [no brag there], kid in my class.   Reasons and rationalizations aside, I sought niches in which to excel.  I wish I could tell you that this was channeled into socially acceptable, God honoring categories that led me to be a leader of industry and achievement, but that would be going back to the whole false testimony thing.  A lot of the niches I wanted to be captain of were down right sinful. God takes His servants from some odd backgrounds.  I rejoice that Moses was a stuttering murderer.  I am given much hope in the Saul part of Paul’s life.  Abraham’s failures allow me to more readily call myself a servant of the Most High, this is a group whose qualifications are not based on the individual, but on the Holy God who used them.  When Noah went on a bender after doing all the right things he showed a humanity I can relate to, perhaps all too well, a lack of perfection that only goes to illuminate God by the contrast of His light to our dark.

God does not often use the prideful servant.  The Holy Spirit fills the empty vessel, not the one filled with pride of self.  Jesus called us not to lead, but to follow.  Since from birth we are self minded, God must send people and instances and the Holy Spirit to act on us as Nathan acted on David.  “You are that man”, experiences are horrible to go through, but iron is heated, beaten and quenched to be made into a tool.  If we offer God the ore of our basic existence, should we not expect to be refined?  We can trust that His expert hand will not strike harder than we can bear, nor will He withhold the fire until the dross is skimmed away. God has caused or allowed many humbling experiences to come into my life;  He has placed me in situations where I have been helpless, looked foolish, and/or  had no hope except His mercy.  Looking back these were times to praise Him,  even though at the time of occurrence they seemed cruel, or at best humorous. I would like to share a few of these moments, for I am sure they will make you feel better about your humbling experiences.  We all know that pathos is when you trip over a rake in the yard, comedy is when your neighbor does it. Allow me to be your neighbor and have a good natured laugh at some of these situations,  I assure you that neither the neighbor nor I were permanently injured by these events.

On a scorching August day we were called to a ” assist the civilian”  while Hanging around at the Fire House.  The temp was bumping 100 degrees, and most of us were in shorts and tshirts.  The  Hermit had found a dead animal in  his well and wanted us to pump  out and chlorinate the cistern.  A marvelous opportunity to train the new guys , girls, and juniors in the operation of a portable pump.   I took the squad truck and about seven “newbies” and off we went to serve the community.  We set up next to the well with a 300 gpm portable pump and two lengths of suction , with no hose needed as we would just blow the water out of the pump and out of the way.  Everyone listened attentively as I, the experienced Fire Chief shared a chunk of my knowledge.  They watched as I primed the pump and started the operation.  Now it was their turn.  I watched from ten feet away  as the suction was re-lowered into the well, the pump restarted,  but they had forgotten to prime, so no flow was to be had.  I took a step closer as a rookie figured the problem  out on his own, applied back pressure and re-angled the outlet.  At me.  300 gallons per minute of rancid dead animal stew  hit me right below the belly button.  Do you think that is humbling?  No, humbling is when this well water,  freezing cold well water blows your shorts down to your ankles in an instant.  Did I mention it was freezing cold water?  The great Chief stood before the crowd with all the primary sexual characteristics of a Ken doll. That is Humbling. 

I lay in a fetal position on a hospital bed unable to move.  I had been this way for weeks with herniated discs.  The local hospital was afraid to operate due to my cancer history and had shipped me out for expert surgery.  As I  lay there I asked God, “Can there be anything worse?”  I advise you to avoid that comment .  A 6’3″ man with bright red hair in a Ronald McDonald permanent showed up with a disposable razor.  If you wanted to cast a flamboyant gay guy for a movie, you would cast this fellow.  “Time to shave your bummy  for Doctor Martin!” ,  he announced with glee.  Humbling.  By the way, he was an excellent care-giver who understood a man’s pride, and did his best to preserve the gram of dignity I had left. 

I was in a bible study/prayer group.  I looked around the table at my fellow travelers, and realized I was superior.  I was the only one with a college education, actually a GED would have been trump with this crowd.  I was not on welfare,  I was wearing clothes bought just for me when they were new, not from the Salvation Army store.  I did however, have a problem.  I could not pray.  Since my mom died the previous year,  I just could not pray. I called it prayer-locked.  In front of a group I could sound like I was praying, but I was not talking to God, I was speaking so others would know what a good prayer I was.  Then it was Tami’s turn to pray.  She told God how happy she was for the miracle last night, that when she rechecked the cupboard with faint hope, there was a box of macaroni and cheese and her family had supper.  “Thank you Jesus for feeding us.”  She meant every word, nothing fancy, just humble and honest,  from the bottom of her heart.   I did not get my turn, I  was crying.  My heart was broken, I was humbled, and once again I could pray.  Thank you Jesus, thank you Tami. 

I wish I had no more stories like this, but to keep the testimony true, I  must admit there is  a bunch.  Some have no humor involved.   I once thought I was pretty tough, but I found out my own skin cells could turn against me and take me out.  I thought I was smart, but I have done the most idiotic things.  My dependence on my God grows every day. 

Micah 6:8   He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

He hath shown me, and I rejoice.