Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.
Not proud. Not thinking of yourself as better than other people.
Putting others first. Putting yourself last.
Small. Low. Insignificant.
I love to break things down. Whether it’s putting together a desk, tackling a problem at work, or reflecting on the Sunday readings – I like to pull everything apart, organize it, analyze it, read the instructions thoroughly and pull together any other supporting information, and then I think.
I’m a thinker. I let things simmer in my mind.
I build websites for my day job. I write code. Every now and then my wife peeks into my office and sees me staring out the window or at a screen and exclaims, “I thought you were writing!”, or she asks, “Are you working?”, to which I respond – “I am!”
Often, when I’m solving a problem or addressing an issue, when I’m working or when I’m writing – it may seem like I’m not doing anything, but the wheels in my mind are always turning. Always. When I’m walking down the street, or mowing the lawn. Watching TV. Making lunch. I’m working things out in my mind. Constantly.
This drives her crazy! But it’s who I am. And so when I get ready to do something – I’ve thought about it. I’ve worked it out in my mind. And then I get it done.
So when thinking about the readings for today, I wanted to break it down and pull it apart. The one word that stands out is humble.
Humility (the act of being humble) is one of those concepts that is difficult to live out. And when you ask someone to define it – people often have a hard time doing so. And the irony is that humility is the key to our existence and our eternal live.
Humility is the very basis of our existence.
God humbled himself when he created us by giving us free will. He could have been prideful and control us, controlling our thoughts and actions, like we’re His robot – His software program, where He programmed us to do exactly what He wanted us to do. But no – He let us make our own choices, even though He knew that we would mess up. He put us first.
Humility is the key to our salvation.
God humbled Himself again, and came to us in the form of one of us – a Man. A poor Man, from a backwater town. Jesus taught us how to be humble in everything we do. He taught us that the rules are simple – we put God first, and then we put others first, and we will be saved.
Humility is the key to our eternal life.
Jesus taught us the way. Now we need to live it if we want to be with Him forever. We have Him and the Saints as our model, and those people He works through today, to show us how to simply live.
We have all the examples we need that show us how to step back, put others first, and realize that in the grand scheme of God’s creation – we are small, and insignificant. We are not as important as we think we are, when compared with everything around us.
We are definitely not more important than God.
But being humble is hard to grasp in today’s world. For a word that is so important with regards to the human race and our eternal lives, it is so hard to define and live out.
And so let’s break it down even more.
How can we live a humble life, to the extent that Christ did, and that He expects us to live? How can we be humble in a prideful, self-serving world?
Here’s the first lesson to living a humble life – accept that you cannot do this on your own. Realize that only Christ can help you do this. Submit yourself to His will, not yours.
But how? How do we do this? It’s simple. You become simple. When you break it down – you realize that humility, underneath it all, is living simply, and putting others first. Putting yourself last, and realizing your smallness in life.
It’s understanding that there are things in this world, causes, and happenings – all that are a part of God’s plan – that are bigger than you, and that you simply need to accept it and be subordinate to Him.
It’s in seeing the simple beauty of this world – and the people within it – regardless of race, or religion, or culture. It’s about submitting to His will, and shrinking your pride, letting Him use you as His instrument.
But again, how do we do this? Personally, I continue to ask – how do I live a humble life? I seem to have to keep learning this lesson… But then from time to time, I step back and I survey the situation. I break it down.
No wait, that’s God breaking me down. I continue to pray that I live humbly, and He continues to give me lessons in humility. And that’s when I remember the answer.
His lessons teach me that I am small. I must become small. I must become low and insignificant before Him. And then there it is – the solution. It’s so beautiful in its simplicity. You don’t need to read countless books, or spend hours searching online, or listen to numerous lectures on Youtube. The instructions are simple.
Just kneel. Become low and small before Him. Acknowledge your insignificance. Put Him before you, and His will before yours. Accept His gift of Mercy. Live simply for Him, and simply live to make those around you better.
This is humility. And it’s a lesson worth repeating. It’s just that simple.
SIR 3:17-18, 20, 28-29; PS 68; HEB 12:18-19, 22-24A; LK 14:1, 7-14