Many years ago, I came across a story about D.L. Moody that has helped to keep my ego in check while doing ministry, seeing God’s discipline in my life, and dealing with people who are difficult to love. This is part of the story.
D.L. Moody was the most famous evangelist in the world in the late 1800s. People came from around the world to attend his Bible Conferences in Northfield, Massachusetts. One year a large group of pastors from Europe were among the attendees. They were given rooms in the dormitory of the Bible school. As was the custom in Europe, the men put their shoes outside the door of their room, expecting them to be cleaned and polished by servants during the night.
Of course there were no servants in the American dorm, but as Moody was walking through the halls and praying for his guests, he saw the shoes and realized what had happened. He mentioned the problem to a few of his students, but none of them offered to help. Without another word, the great evangelist gathered up the shoes and took them back to his own room where he began to clean and polish each pair. Moody told no one what he had done, but a friend who interrupted him in the middle of shining the shoes and helped him finish the task later told the story of what had happened. Despite the praise and fame he received because of God’s blessing on his life and ministry, Moody remained a humble man.
I don’t believe I would have the same reaction that Mr. Moody had. I no doubt would point out the next day the cultural differences between the two continents and tell all the European pastors that “I ain’t your mama! And if you want your shoes shined it would be up to you.” Or, if I was really thinking with a servant’s heart, I would tell them to leave their shoes outside their dorm room and I would collect them and send them out to be polished for a small service fee which would be added to their bill. After all, “I ain’t their mama!”
The Bible has a lot to say about being humble. One of my favorite passages on the subject is First Peter 5:5-7.
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.
Here the Apostle Peter gives the reader five commands and four promises
- The younger people are to submit to the elders of the church.
- Submit to one another.
- Be clothed with humility
- Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
- Cast all your care upon Him.
- God resists the proud.
- God gives grace to the humble.
- God may exalt you in due time.
- God cares for you.
This is a pretty straight forward breakdown of this passage but I want us to zero in on only one command and two promises.
BE CLOTHED WITH HUMILITY
Being clothed with humility gives us the idea of what people will see on the outside when God is doing work on the inside. It is interesting to note that the Apostle Peter is telling us we are to wear humility. The command isn’t a fashion statement but a call to put on survival clothes. As a matter of fact, Peter’s command tells me I am to put it on and keep it on (aorist imperative). There are a lot of things I can take off, but humility is not suppose to be one of them.
For most of us humility is not an easy thing to put on with the idea of not taking it off. It’s a lot easier to think more highly of myself and play dress up with my pride rather than to wear the garment of a humble spirit. But I also realize that when pride struts its stuff I am in trouble with God.
GOD WILL RESIST THE PROUD
The word “resist” is a military term used of an army drawn up for battle. Yikes! My picture here is God dressed in battle attire (battle rattle for you military types) ready to bring the fight to me. I wonder who is going to win? You already know the answer. But there is a good side to this too.
GOD WILL GIVE GRACE TO THOSE WHO HUMBLE THEMSELVES
When we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, He is willing to pour out His grace on our life. Why? Because we admit to God and to those around us that we are totally and utterly dependent on His power, presence, and His plan for our life.
You see, pride makes one self-sufficient, whereas humility is a recognition of one’s dependence on God. This is a great reminder as we face new challenges in our life due a virus that just won’t go away. I believe our country’s leaders would do well to give these verses their attention. But for us who are called by His name, we should take them to heart.
This is Pastor Pat “From Behind The Pen” wishing you joy in Jesus.