Humility on the Line

I saw humility stationed like a sentry guarding its treasure.  It wore no badge and displayed no royal banners.  It did not put on airs nor did it show any sign of feeling awkward.  It was an eagle perched on the white painted line of the highway and finishing its meal of roadkill.  No buzzard dare blunder there!  The white crown was clean, but the image seemed to be marred.  I can’t quite conscience the contradiction imposed on my imagination.  The national bird is not so proud as to humble itself out of necessity.  

It did not shy away into some secret hiding place when it heard my truck coming.  It waited until the last second to make sure it was out of the way.  Hunger erases shame.  Need numbs us to social delicacies.  The world is not inverted when nature buries its kin under the wings of natural forces.  It does not blush at the stateliest of birds intervening on dust to dust.  Every day the natural order of things brings the humble to glory and the glorious to humility.  If we do not self-determine humility, humility will come anyway, one way or the other.  

If choosing humility were so easy and natural as an eagle taking the place of a buzzard, the word could be removed from the dictionary.  It would be unnecessary – like no longer needing a word to distinguish china on the table from paper plates if these things didn’t identify wealth or status.  It would be like not needing a word to distinguish between formal wear or sweats if social occasions did not demand them.  All we would have would be plates of pavement and the feathers we were born to wear.  We would ease into humility on our daily walks and display it as effortlessly as smiles and frowns.  We would not be embarrassed by tears.  We would receive empathy as easily as praise and interruption as easily as an invitation.   We would trust our sense of need for provision outside ourselves and live every moment acknowledging our vulnerability to changing circumstances.  We would just know without ever questioning it, that God is as necessary for our every motion as He is for our survival. 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 CSB).

Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:5-6 CSB).  

Stephen Williams