Friday, February 3, 2017


Friday, February 3, 2017
If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.  James 3:13(NLT)
I was once told by someone quite wise that the moment you believe you’ve finally got humility down-pat is the same moment you can be sure it has escaped.
Country singer/songwriter Mac Davis wrote a tongue-in-cheek song 20 years ago about humility.  Some of the lyrics:
Oh Lord it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way.
I can't wait to look in the mirror, cause I get better looking each day.
I guess you could say I'm a loner, a cowboy alone, tough, and proud.
I could have lots of friends if I wanted, but then I wouldn't stand out from the crowd. [ii]
Of the people I’ve known whom I could describe as humble, the most notable characteristic is that they do NOT stand-out in a crowd.  Like Jesus, intent on washing his disciples’ feet, bent over a basin of water, you’re lower than everyone else, and how can you see that in a crowd?
There are a number of life pathways that seem to chew up humility and spit it out with contempt.  Politics, Hollywood, and Wall Street come to mind.  And, oh yes, lest I get too dishonest here – pulpits of any kind tend to destroy humility.  From the smallest of churches to the CEO’s of major charitable fundraisers and mega-church pastors, humility takes a beating.  To paraphrase Mac Davis,
Oh Lord, it aint easy to be lowly when those folks keep puttin’ me up on that pedestal.
James says that real humility and real wisdom are so connected you can’t find one without the other.  My friend Ossie is a walking testament to that.  Ossie always kept a low profile.  He was in his sixties when I met him in 1990.  He was pleasant, always smiling and always ready to say a positive word about his preacher.  You would have to work at disliking Ossie McDuffie.
But it wasn’t that character trait that bespoke of Ossie’s humility or wisdom.  Those characteristics of smiling, pleasantness and kind words can also be the show of a calculating charlatan about to stab you in the back.  The prophet warned about people like that:
For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows.  They speak friendly words to their neighbors while scheming in their heart to kill them.  Jeremiah 9:8(NLT)
The true proof of humility and wisdom is what you find out later. 
One look at my friend Ossie and you could tell he was strong.  But, I never knew, even with all the conversations we had, that he was a great baseball player in his youth.  (It was supposed by one who knew him way back in the sandlot days that a few of those balls he launched over the outfield fences have yet to land!)
And in the six years I was his pastor I never knew he and his wife, Dot, were feeding breakfast to their Sunday School class (and several other classes) every week.  The kids would come in like locusts because it was the only breakfast they got each week.
In my estimation, Ossie McDuffie’s humility wasn’t breathtaking because he didn’t speak-out; truth be told, if he had an opportunity he knew how to speak, and loudly (so did Jesus when there were Pharisees or moneychangers in the Temple!).  His humility and wisdom were so evident to me because every time I heard him speak it was always about how grateful he was that Jesus saved his poor, wretched soul, or something good about somebody else.  And then his actions always matched what he said.
I don’t think you have to be a doormat to be humble.  But, sometimes humility will include laying down your life for a friend.  And I always had the strong belief that, if it came to that, Ossie McDuffie would have done that for me.

For You Today

Wisdom manifests itself in humility, and true humility is very wise!
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

[i]Title image: Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
[ii] Written by Mac Davis • © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

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