2020-09-02 - The Be Humble
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but wisdom is with the humble.” (Proverbs 11:2 **NRSV)
If you have ever watched the 1970s and early 1980s comedy/drama show M*A*S*H, you likely will also have fond memories of favorite characters and the moments, you shared while watching. While I am hard-pressed to choose one character as a favorite, there are noteworthy moments with many of the cast members, and one was brought to light again with the episodes preceding the exit of longtime company clerk to the 4077th, Walter, Radar, O‘Reilly. This sweet, yet often determined and feisty Charlie Brown © character, tossed into the Korean War, made the mobile Army surgical hospital tick like a well-maintained cuckoo clock after substantial on-the-job training and guidance from his first commanding officer and his Army camp family. So many bittersweet moments on his tour, and a shelf full of memories for him to pack up after discovering he needed to ship home to help look after his Mom and their family farm. Much like the hometown homestead, the toil in the military outfit was tedious, tiring, and not for the faint of heart. And what a heart this character possessed, with the help of writers alongside the interpretation of the man playing his part. In those final moments, trying to sum up this catalyst between war and peace in a place relentlessly flooded with disaster for hours at a time, the head nurse character spoke of Walter this way: “That’s funny, I never really gave Radar a second thought.” Perhaps this was due to his efforts being focused on his role as the company clerk-a job defined by his efforts to secure the needs of his camp mates through paperwork, phone calls, receiving goods and distributing them to the appropriate places. Such work is often most noted when not completed-like the item you may reach for at the store only to discover its being out of stock. In the case of this character, he is in many ways the lifeline of the staff to their life in camp, but also the link to their family at home. And if someone has become highly efficient at the work, then there is very little of which to take note. I do not know about you, but I can recall several instances over time, that I was known for something I either did not do, was presumed not to have done, or cited as doing incorrectly. It was not a great feeling, so I am quite sure not being given notice would have been not only better, but complimentary.
Conversely, people can also either inadvertently or offhandedly gloss over others and what value they have unconsciously contributed to their lives. How many things have you taken for granted until it noticeably impacted your daily life? For instance, examples could include a sick or vacationing co-worker being missed and your work responsibilities changing, doing normal errands and forgetting it is a holiday as you included a place that normally closes-needing to recalculate your movements, temporary social distancing’s effects on your daily living, and finally one that comes to mind from my growing up years: Refuse/garbage contract negotiation failures leading to short terms with ‘no collection’ seeming like an eternity. While sometimes the effects of glossing over others are minimal and unintentional, it is worth considering how each person we encounter and how we may affect them spiritually or how they may affect us. If we do so, we may consider asking our co-worker if they are feeling better or if they had a nice vacation. Perhaps it would be better to be more thoughtful of others in service when our schedules must be altered - rather than focusing on our own inconveniences. We might wave to those who do what we do not even have to think about, beyond dropping bags inside of the can and moving the trash to the curb, so they remove it for us.
Fortunately, God sees beyond our failings and only waits for us to acknowledge them to him, asking for his forgiveness. By doing so, he frees us when we have a humble heart of repentance. In those moments of realizing my failings to God, I then realize how I have failed others around me. Sometimes it is with people I will never see again, and so I pray for his forgiveness from those things I cannot change. Other times, it leaves me needing to reconsider having glossed over someone-having thought of them unkindly-and I need to do for them what God gave me the chance to do with him-make amends. They may or may not be willing to forgive me at that moment, but if I have a truly repentant heart, it is then between them and God. Either way, I do my best to do better moving forward, and with his help, my chances are astronomically larger than without him. So, I choose God. He humbles me, yet somehow does it in ways that lift me up rather than tearing me down. How does he do it? He showed me what humility was-he would rather die than live without me. In came Jesus, Who humbly took my place. Because without Him showing me humility, how would I understand it. “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does he require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NIV) Be humble.
“Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, “and to show every courtesy to everyone.”, “…so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:1-3,7 **NRSV)(**The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha; College Edition, Oxford University Press 2007)
All verses are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.