Humility is a spiritual issue. When we are humble we display the heart of Jesus. And when we become humble givers, we change the world.
Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way. I can’t wait to look in the mirror, ‘cuz I get better looking each day.
Remember that old Mac Davis song? It’s a good one.
We’ve got a lot of things in short supply these days. Clean drinking water in Africa and other third world countries. Teenagers who can’t voice complete sentences. Great television shows like “This Is Us.” Cleveland Brown football victories.
And humility. From our sports heroes to our President, there’s not much of it.
On every team, faculty or staff, in every classroom, home or group, there are three types of people: givers, takers and “matchers.” Some people give of their time, talent and treasure. Some people have no problem wasting time, shucking talent or stealing treasure. But most people are “matchers” in that we live suspended between the two and “match” what works best for us. We’re pragmatists at heart.
Nevertheless, it’s the givers who move an organization, church, school or business forward. Givers are inspirational. Givers spark creativity, motivation and joy. Givers leave a mark and carve a legacy.
At the center of being a “giver” is humility.
Humility is the underlying force that guides individuals who selflessly serve, who sacrifice their time, abilities and financial resources. It’s a simple recognition that others matter first and foremost. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to degrade or devalue yourself. C.S. Lewis is right: “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Too many times we think humility means we have to be last or least, and that’s not always the case.
Recently, I ordered lunch at a local Chick Fil A. When the meal arrived I realized that they had incorrectly taken my order (I wanted grilled chicken nuggets and got fried nuggets instead). I gently returned the box of nuggets back to my young server and she informed me they couldn’t take them back. She then brought me another box of grilled nuggets (and a card for a free Chick entree on my next visit). I wasn’t expecting that blessing! But here I was with an extra box of nuggets. Consequently, I looked around for someone to whom I could give the extra entree but saw no one. Everyone had ordered and was happy. And then, practically on cue, a scruffy old man came into the restaurant wanting directions. I learned he was new to town and was turned around. He wasn’t there to eat but when I caught his eye I motioned him to my table.
“Would you like my box of grilled chicken nuggets?” I asked the old man, “I’ve got an extra box.”
His grizzled face, deep with wrinkles, broadened into a smile and said enthusiastically “yes!” He was clearly hungry and my gift was an unexpected blessing. I gave him the box and some Chick-Fil-A sauce. He thanked me profusely and disappeared down the street. It felt good to give, even if it was out of my abundance.
It’s so easy for me to be a giver when I’m flush with nuggets. It’s easy to drop extra in the offering plate when my bank account is full. It’s easy to give my time when I’ve got it and my talent when there’s some reward or affirmation. How about you?
The problem is it’s far more difficult to be a giver out of my poverty. I’ve been dirt poor in my life at times. A few years ago it was so bad I had to resort to a local food bank for food. It was “humiliating” to me, but I never stopped giving. I even supported a missionary with a regular donation. It was in my poverty, humbled by life’s circumstances, that I learned how to receive. Trust me, it takes most of us a great amount of humility to accept the help of others. No one wants to be a “taker” and yet too many of us are “takers” these days. Our government assistance programs are brimming with scammers, hustlers and other thieves. You see, there’s a fine line between being a “giver” who needs a hand up and a “taker” who is always looking for the hand out.
All I know is Jesus was right: it’s far more blessed to give than to receive.
It’s a pretty cool way to live (if you fully trust God to provide and protect). So I’m learning to change that old Mac Davis song and retool it with new lyrics: Oh Lord, it’s easy to humble when You, the Giver of all Good Gifts, are Perfect in every way.
Stay blessed. Stay hungry. Stay humble.
And watch the blessings fall. Even if it’s just a box of fried chicken nuggets.