Humility - the hardest character quality to keep
One of the most challenging parts of my job is also a blessing. Constantly, people come to me to tell me what a fine message I brought or what a fine funeral I did or what a fine wedding I performed. I'm not saying I don't like it - it's always nice to be liked. The problem is that it's not about us. It's tempting to believe all of the things people say. That you're God's gift. That people should always say such kind things and hang on every word you speak. That your gifts extend far beyond mere mortal capacity to receive or even understand it! Believe me - I've been there.
The reality is when we believe things like that about ourselves it leads us to the wrong conclusion. it leads us to believe that it's about us and our calling. As if God can't use anyone other than me. Or us. Or as if our gifts exempt us from our own humanity. Don't believe it! Satan will sell you that lie as long as you'll buy it.
So how do you avoid it? By making certain humility is a key part of your life. For me, I do this by learning a new skill each year. Generally speaking, to do so means you must swallow your own pride and ask for help. You must be teachable and - worst of all - vulnerable to criticism. . . . especially from yourself!
I learned a lot about this back a few years ago when my friend Larry Folden invited me to learn to skurf. For those unfamiliar with skurfing, here is video of some guys doing it ridiculously well. To learn, I had to submit myself to doing something I hate to do - look foolish. I had to agree to swallow my foolish pride and strike out where I'd never gone. For 17 weeks - 13 weeks one some and a full month of the next summer - I tried unsuccessfully just to stand on the silly board! I drank about half of Lake Jacksonville and wasted about $400 worth of Larry's boat gas! Finally - FINALLY - on the 18th week - I stood up. I didn't throw the rope in and I looked anything like I was supposed to - but I at least got that far. Because I was willing to keep trying. I was willing TO STAY HUMBLE.
I'm not exalting myself here - I'm very much still a work in progress - but humility is one character trait that I'm constantly pursing. The thing about humility is this - you can choose it or it will choose you. Humble yourself or someone else will do it for you. I choose to humble myself with the knowledge nothing I do to serve the Lord is about me. I invite you