Tag Archives: humility

Disagreements don’t have to be warfare

It’s the week of the RNC, so let’s talk elephants (but not politics.)

The elephant is a majestic creature. They’ve been around awhile and have been domesticated in some ways to be used in industry, entertainment, warfare and more. Did you know that it is females that are mostly trained because male elephants don’t really work well with humans? Except in warfare, girl elephants run from boy elephants – so not the best warriors.

I’ve stood in awe at elephants. I’ve seen them at a variety of zoos and such. Watched the Discovery channel. I’ve even read/seen Dumbo and Horton Hears a Who. Classics.

But today, my mind drifts to that piece of folklore of several blind men discovering an elephant for the first time. Each one explores a different part of the creature and comes to totally different conclusions. One author (Greg Koukl) summarizes the results as such …

  1. The first blind man put out his hand and touched the side of the elephant. “How smooth! An elephant is like a wall.”
  2. The second blind man put out his hand and touched the trunk of the elephant. “How round! An elephant is like a snake.”
  3. The third blind man put out his hand and touched the tusk of the elephant. “How sharp! An elephant is like a spear.”
  4. The fourth blind man put out his hand and touched the leg of the elephant. “How tall! An elephant is like a tree.”
  5. The fifth blind man reached out his hand and touched the ear of the elephant. “How wide! An elephant is like a fan.”
  6. The sixth blind man put out his hand and touched the tail of the elephant. “How thin! An elephant is like a rope.”

An argument ensued. Each posted on Facebook calling the other liars and spreaders off fake news. The lines were drawn in the sand and not one of the six even listened, much less tried to understand, the others. A few took to the street to protest. Others hid in their homes and just fumed. One applied for a concealed weapon permit to protect himself from the others. One made a book deal and went on news media to share his story and why others are more than just blind, they are ignorant. One even said to think otherwise is the way Hitler made people think.

Okay. Maybe that’s not the original legend, and maybe I slid into a little politics. But it is amazing that in reading about the DNC and the RNC, and watching some snippets from both, people can watch the exact same thing and come to opposite points of view.

Is he mad at the driver? Did the driver try to hit the elephant? Or maybe the beast just needed to scratch an itch on his belly and the car was the only thing that would reach that hard to reach spot?

I know this is nothing new, it’s been around like this for … well since man has been here.

But it’s hard to watch. And even harder to live through all this. I don’t have quick fixes or fortune cookie statements that draws all men together. But I do have a challenge from scripture for each of us. Basically – put others before yourself.

Put others first!

What would this world be like if we practiced that – or at least tried to practice that? I’m not talking about being a door mat or allowing others to take advantage of you – but just living humbly, polite, and realizing we are not the center of the universe.

What a beautiful world this would be.

They Ain’t Waving Palm Branches at You!

Pride – it is a struggle as old as man. How about you? Humility – have you attained it? If you answer yes, then return to “Go”, do not collect your $200 dollars – start over. Last week, I gave my church family a “Are you Proud” test. Let’s share a few of those questions …

  • Do you crave attention? Get critical or jealous if others get the attention you think you deserve?
  • Do you always have to win?
  • Do you avoid trying things because you’re afraid of failure? Worried about what other people might think? Or do you even hide your failures?
  • Do you have a hard time admitting you are wrong?
  • Are you more likely desiring to be like some celebrity, sports figure, etc. or to be like Jesus?

Years ago, Corrie ten Boom was at the top of her career, at the peak of interest in her book and in the movie based on her book. In an interview, she was asked if it was hard to be humble. Her answer was astounding.

She said, “When Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly – praises, palm branches, crowds, everything going on – do you think for one moment that the donkey thought that any of that was for him?”

Wow – sometimes I am a donkey that thinks it is about me – and it isn’t about me. And sometimes you are the donkey – so stop thinking it’s about you. They ain’t waving those palm branches at you.

Keep your eyes on Him!

Todd

When Life Throws You Into Reverse

He was at the top of the world. Life was going his way. Private dinners in the White House. People paid him honors and adoration. He had skyrocketed to heights we only dream of. BAM … life came to a screeching halt, even more, it sent him careening in the opposite way. He now plummeted down and lost everything.

Then there are stories of people born of humble means. They scratch and sweat and diligently work hard in difficult environments to over come all odds to succeed. And in humility, they give back to others – using their position to help and lift others out of dire situations.

This life does seem to throw us around at times. You’re finally able to save a little money, and then BAM, a medical expense throws you in reverse. You seem to be getting along with people at work and then BAM, you find out they’ve been working behind your back and take credit for what you did. You’re struggling and wondering how you’re going to pay some bills, and BAM someone has anonymously given you a financial gift and pays the bill to help you. One of the most humorous stories I know that illustrates this happened years ago. A youth pastor (my godfather actually) was in seminary and it was several days to payday … and they had nothing but just enough food to eat. They even ran out of toilet paper. So they humbly took their request to God and asked for toilet paper. Seems awkward to ask the ultimate being, the creator and sovereign God … for toilet paper. But then God showed up. That night, the youth group decided show their youth pastor some love – and they toilet papered their house. Yep. God answers. The couple went out and took the TP off the trees and house, rolled it back up as best they could, and thanked God for answered prayers.

In church yesterday, we saw in Esther 7 that God opposes the proud (Haman in this case) and exalted the humble (Esther). It is a strong reminder to us.

Today … remember you are just a moment away from destruction. But for those who humble themselves, He will exalt at the proper time.

Lord, keep my heart humble, keep my eyes on You, and keep my hands and feet ready to be used by You to help others wherever and whenever I can.

Felicity Huffman … Elitism Slammed by Elitist

It was a college scandal that rocked the rich. Top schools involved. Six figure bribes. Test taking shortcuts. Some of Hollywood elites connected. And more.

Recently, Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty, appealed to the court as a mother who tried to do whatever she could to help her daughter. She gave some reasonable excuses, but still, excuses. She pleaded for mercy … no jail time. She accepts fines, community service, probation, but no jail.

The women on The View discussed this. They claimed she was rich, entitled, and tried to ‘game the system’. They expressed she deserves to go to jail, for a long period of time. They called it elitism at its worst.

Now … I find this a tough scenario. But I also find it ironic. I would imagine any of those female hosts that sat around the table would also ‘game the system’ in certain situations. If they walked into a restaurant and they wanted a table, yet had no reservation, I would wager they would expect a table anyway. Good seats at a gala. Special attention at the boutique. These little perks seem welcomed and expected.

So … where is the line? When is taking a perk deemed elitism? When does being treated special become elitism? When does helping become favoritism? I get the cheating on tests is too far, but where is the line?

Someone donates a building, multi-million dollar investment, or whatever. Tell me their kid wouldn’t get in. Where is the line?

I am a pastor. Should I get a discount at Lifeway? My friend is a cop. Should they get free coffee at 7-11?

I am not sure. I am glad I am not the judge, the accused, or even one of the kids that got into college that way. (Though USC would’ve been cool).

But there are some great principles here …

  • Don’t think too highly of yourself
  • Pride comes before a fall
  • Honor others more than yourselves

I think we would be better off if we helped each other more than we looked it for ourselves. Radical? How about Biblical. In a world that is quick to judge, let’s be people who are better known for building people up.