I have been doing some serious thinking about humility this week. I am learning that arrogance is an attitude that holds us back from learning and growing from our mistakes.
Since humility is often seen as a weakness in our culture, we need more examples like this one about the great American preacher, D. L. Moody.
D.L. Moody was the most famous evangelist in the world in the late 1800s. People came from around the world to attend his Bible Conferences in Northfield, Massachusetts. One year a large group of pastors from Europe were among the attendees. They were given rooms in the dormitory of the Bible school. As was the custom in Europe, the men put their shoes outside the door of their room, expecting them to be cleaned and polished by servants during the night.
Of course, there were no servants in the American dorm, but as Moody was walking through the halls and praying for his guests, he saw the shoes and realized what had happened. He mentioned the problem to a few of his students, but none of them offered to help. Without another word, the great evangelist gathered up the shoes and took them back to his own room where he began to clean and polish each pair. Moody told no one what he had done, but a friend who interrupted him in the middle of shining the shoes and helped him finish the task later told the story of what had happened. Despite the praise and fame, he received because of God’s blessing on his life and ministry, Moody remained a humble man.
Unlike Moody, much of our maneuvering among colleagues, friends and family is focused on position and power. We want to be seen as accomplished, put together, on top of things. We reject the humility found in a humble life.
Philip Yancey in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew once remarked that “before Jesus, almost no pagan author had used humility as a compliment.” But Christians know “that learning humility is a prerequisite for grace.” And we all need grace in order to move on past our sin and failures. So, this week, remember, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:10).