Humility is something people praise.
Few will praise a proud person for their pride. They may praise someone for their accomplishments, and then the person may become proud. But pride is an ugly thing. Pride is deadly.
But what does humility cost?
1. Humility costs pride & dignity. Often, the humble have been shamed and insulted. The pain of this cost is such that it is not something that people go looking for it. Rather, God comes looking for the proud soul and humbles them like Nebuchadnezzar … so that they will come back looking to Him. Humility is willing to go unacknowledged.
2. Humility costs money. Humility, when matched with resources, becomes generosity. Not ostentatious giving, but practical, earnest, passionate, loving gifts flow through the hands of those who are poor in spirit. There is something about wealth or the prospect of wealth that puffs up. The loss of that prompts humility.
3. Humility costs convenience & time. Pride rushes ahead to be first in line, humility lets others go first and is willing to be last … if only grace may last. Life is best enjoyed during detours. Pride may smirk, but is discontent, because those inconveniences come to all. Pride barges on, humility lets others procede first. Humility drives in the slow lane.
4. Humility can require physical suffering. This may be an injury that disables someone and so makes them unable to continue to compete in a sport they were highly recognized for. It may be a beating by persecutors when a saint in an oppressive environment fails to be watchful. It may be a Job-like seemingly meaningless torment that simply makes one more humble and takes away pride in humilty.
Now then, what are the benefits of humility?
1. God’s grace. God gives grace to the humble. Those who are humble can do God’s work with His help. Pride is crippling; humility enables.
2. Quiet respect by others who are humble. A leader who is humble is more likely to be honored with a higher position than an arrogant man who is wicked. Pride puffs up; humility endears.
3. Strength. When one is not constantly striving to build up oneself, there is strength to serve and strength to endure. The simple strength of humility enables one to last when others cast him out. Pride lasts for a moment; humility endures.
4. Multiplication. Humility sees how others can be enabled to serve alongside of oneself. It is not content to do it all by itself. Pride isolates; humility equips.
If you read through the accounts of the Kings in the Old Testament, those leaders who humbled themselves before God were blessed with better endings. Even evil rulers were blessed to last longer if they humbled themselves. But a good but proud ruler was liable to lose his life.
Are you humble? Are you gentle? Are you kind? Are you patient? Do you love the unloving and unlovely? If not, what do you need to do to change?
When you vote, do you look for leaders who will make you more comfortable or for leaders who are humble? Sadly, the office all too often humbles the noble or the noble humble the nation. Leaders have a poor record of leading with humility consistently.
I realized today that I was having problems because of my pride and that the reason God had humbled me was to bless me further. Thank God for the later humility of Rehoboam. That is what the Word is for.