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Humble Pie

Father, I humble myself before You.
I choose to put others before me.
I trust that You know my cares, desires, and anxieties.
I give them to You, knowing You will exalt me in the proper time.

Series Focus: “Eyes to See and Ears to Hear”

Being the sixth in birth order of seven children, and generally the “runt” of the litter, I am no stranger to others coming before me. Our household also welcomed a foster child or two, and was frequented by neighborhood and classroom friends. The Greenwood home was a hopping place!

My childhood taught me many lessons about putting others’ needs before my own. Sure, my needs sometimes came first. But with seven to nine children under the roof, our brood understood rank and order! Somehow, my parents managed an intricate balance and excelled miraculously.

I remember a certain day when I stormily climbed into the front seat of the family van, slammed the door, and stewed. At an age too old for a robust tantrum, I pulled out all the stops I thought I could get away with. I wanted my mother to know how upset I was about the circumstances. My beautiful mom, frustrated by my ridiculous behavior, stopped short, looked me directly in the eyes, and sternly explained, “The world doesn’t revolve around you, Maryann. Other people have needs, too.”

Her rebuke stopped me cold. I knew that. I knew she was right. Was I so focused on “my” wants that I had lost sight of everything else going on around me? …and around my mom? Think of all she was balancing! … I wasn’t a selfish person, and I knew how to surrender to the needs of others. Yet, in that moment, I wanted everything to be all about me.

It took me a bit to regroup and calm myself down. My mother’s wisdom was true. Her words resounded within me. I spent that car ride processing the 7-steps of grief: Shock, Denial, Guilt, Bargaining, Depression, Reconciliation, and Acceptance. By the time we completed our journey, I was able to sincerely and humbly apologize to my mother. I will never forget that day, and I have reflected on it many times.

There’s a parable Jesus taught about putting ourselves before others. We find it in Luke 14:7-11:

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Have you ever placed yourself in a higher position, and then had to be removed to a lower place? Have you exalted yourself, your needs, your wants above others? How did that make you feel? How did you respond?

Many other scriptures provide instruction on pride, humility, and putting others before ourselves:

  • Proverbs 11:2 –  “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”
  • Philippians 2:3 –  Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
  • James 4:10 – “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
  • 1 Peter 5:6-7 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

A position of humility brings honor, wisdom, and promotion. Pride causes disgrace and destruction. Humility counts others more significant. Pride selfishly esteems yourself, your needs, your desires as more important.

My mom “put me in my place” that day so many years ago, and I had to eat my share of Humble Pie. I had elevated myself to a higher status in my own mind, and I was humbled by the truth she shared. I was upset and embarrassed then. … I’m so very thankful now.

Be encouraged today to humble yourself and to position yourself in a place where exaltation is possible. Don’t think of yourself higher than others. Rather, cast your cares, your concerns, your desires, your anxieties upon Him, for He does care for you, and He will exalt you at the proper time.

Holding Fast to Hope,

Scripture References: Luke 14:7-11; Proverbs 11:2; Philippians 2:3; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6-7


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