Summary: Attaining humility is a full time pursuit! Do we think some acts of service for God are beneath us? Learn how a story of an old man showed me so much about being humble. Article written for ethoughts weekly. wit4life.com
I heard a story that so impressed me I can’t get it out of my mind. Maybe it is a sign I should write about it to share it with all of you.
An old man who was severely injured lost 3/4 of his blood volume. While he stayed in the hospital to recuperate, aides came to check him. They discovered him out of bed and on the floor on his hands and knees. Concerned, they queried him. The man replied that he had accidentally spilled water and didn’t want the nurse on duty to get in trouble for the hazardous condition in the room.
His reaction was clearly instinctual. It revealed a kind and selfless disposition. The antic was also a truly humble one. The man on the floor was President Ronald Reagan following the attempted assassination on his life. Even though in poor health and elderly this most powerful man felt no self-importance. He made a spill so he swabbed the floor.
Humility is knowing our own importance from age, success or position doesn’t change the fact that we all are equally dust. More importantly we are all too God’s created children. It is a most strange dichotomy. We are special and useful at our best, but in reality no better or worse than the next person. Although we’d like to believe we are better than murderers or rapists, we all are capable of extreme goodness and extreme evil. We can accomplish amazing things by choosing goodness, but the moment we falsely comprehend we’re superior, we are not humble and therefore out of touch with reality.
The Pauline letters repeatedly warn against thinking too much of ourselves. 1 Cor 12:16- Orders us to not be proud in no uncertain terms.
This of course is not to say we should be in poor self-esteem, but rather other -focused. Taking care of ourselves comes natrually, taking care of others most often does not.
Taking ourselves too seriously means we can’t see to show basic human kindnesses to fellow and equal human beings. If we think we’re good at being humble, abruptly we’ve then failed. Humility is a perpetual sport of practice, fleeting success and failure. For me it’s like catching a buttered piglet. (Difficult.)
Perhaps Reagan’s janitorial incident was unwise for his physical condition, but it was done from a generous and meek heart. Meekness is quiet strength and strength of character. If an injured President can sponge the floor, how much more should we serve and show kindness to others.
In an event where we feel humiliated, perhaps we’ve just experienced, in a sudden burst, the consciousness that we are in fact mortal, flawed or weak. If we are first humbled in heart, or rather put back in order, things won’t seem beneath us.
In truth, we are all very common; and yet we are also, of course, unique. Life is a weird and wonderful balancing act. When we think we are unique as much as we are in fact common we fool ourselves with prideÉthen we are all the more common. If we think we are common to the amount we are, we become, but for a moment, unique. Fixation on this uniqueness puts us out of order again. And so it goes around again. The season for this task of humility last all year round.
Let pride not beset us. This week let our kindness come from a meek and generous heart!