Every now and then I come up with some brilliant insight that I think will make a great article. Then I find that, brilliant as it is, I can’t expand it to fit even my shortest article length. What I need to do, every now and then, is to write an article full of several unrelated thoughts. This will be one of those times.
Humility is a virtue. It is good to be humble. After all, God “forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” (Ps 9:12) Solomon said, “A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” (Prov 29:23) “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (Jas 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5) (James and Peter both appear to be quoting a single source, although no other scripture can be found that says this. Perhaps they are quoting something they heard Jesus say or a quote from some other rabbi.)
Because humility is so important we look down on the glory-seeking person. Surely it is wrong to seek glory and honor for yourself. We don’t like the “hot dog” on the sports field, the teacher’s pet, or the gold-digger. Yet Paul tells us God rewards those who seek glory and honor. God “will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.” (Rom 2:6-7)
Perhaps the difference here is from whom we seek the glory. If we seek it from men, then when we get it we have our reward. But when we seek glory and immortality from God, by doing what will make us like God, then he rewards us with eternal life.
Does this mean that we should make a show of humility just so God can reward us? Jesus did say, “whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” James said, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up.” (Jas 4:10) It is almost as if they are saying that if you seek to be truly exalted you have to act as if that isn’t what you want. Maybe God knows what so many of us who are actors know; the action is the parent of the emotion. If we play at being humble God will exalt us, because it will soon become part of our nature.
A man was given a medal for being humble, but they had to take it back because he wore it. God’s reward for humility is not like that. He wants us to wear it for eternity.
I am not a carpenter. I “measure twice, cut once” and it still doesn’t fit. I wouldn’t know a rip saw from a crosscut saw by sight. As far as I am concerned a finish nail is a nail that comes from Finland. (Sorry, that would be a Finnish nail.) When my brother-in-law was building his house, my job was to pound nails back up because I could do the least harm that way.
As such a carpenter, I am not known for hitting the nail on the head. Hammers and pain seem to go together. That said, I have to admit that I don’t really remember the last time I hit my finger with a hammer. That is because the pain doesn’t last. In the overall scheme of things, the pain from hitting my thumb is a mere pin-prick. So it will be with this life from the view of eternity. What seems so long and painful now will seem as nothing in heaven. It will be just like hitting the nail on the hand.
In many of the old movie or TV westerns the main characters would get themselves into a tight spot. It may be that they were surrounded by Indians or by bandits. They were fighting off the attackers, but were almost out of ammunition. All looked hopeless. Just at the last moment before they were killed or carried off you would hear a bugle call, and up would ride the cavalry to save the day.
We were held captive by sin. “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.” (Ps 73:2) Then, off in the distance we heard the bugle. “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son.” (Gal 4:3-4) At the right moment we were saved, not by the cavalry but by calvary.