“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” – James 4:10 New Living Translation
I was greatly blessed by the sermon. The preacher had reflected deeply on the passage, he had framed his point in a clear and compelling key phrase. His content reflected a respect for the Bible from which he had drawn the truth. He had challenged me directly and yet had left me with a sense of what could happen if I let God help shape my response. He would have made his homiletic professor proud.
Then he blew it.
“I really appreciated today’s message and thank you for sharing it.”
“The Lord did it, not me,” was his smiling response.
The response may have been ecclesiastically correct but it rang with false humility. He acted as if he had nothing to do with its design and its delivery. I found myself walking away thinking, he wasn’t truthful. It was enough to make me wonder about the truth of his content, as well. Was he really speaking from the mind of Christ to deliver a message to God’s beloved?
We sometimes make a mockery of humility by acting as if we are simply spiritual automatons, puppets of the Almighty.
God works in and through us. He has blessed us with gifts and passions, experiences and understandings. He empowers us for fruitfulness. What He requires of us is commitment and obedience. In other words, God works in us and through us.
That’s the reality that is at the heart of true humility. It is rooted in the authenticity of genuine relationship with Him. The preacher would have been more authentic (and therefore more helpful to me) if his answer had been, “Thank you, I tried to do my best with what God gave me.” I would have someone who was submitted to the God Who had gifted him instead of making it sound like he was just a mouthpiece.