An elderly minister who survived the great Johnstown Flood of 1889 loved to regale audiences with tales of that harrowing event. When he died and went to heaven, he found himself in a meeting of saints who were sharing their life experiences. He took St. Peter aside and asked if he could tell about surviving the Johnstown Flood. Peter hesitated, then said, “Well, you can tell your story, but just keep in mind that Brother Noah will be in the audience.”

David Jeremiah writes: “There is something in our human flesh that loves to tempt us to talk about ourselves — how big, tall, great, smart, wealthy, or wise we are. Even how humble we are! But God has his ways of helping us learn that we’re not quite what we would like others to believe. In fact, to prompt a little humility in us, He tells us that all our great deeds ‘are like filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6). It’s not that God doesn’t want us to be lifted up. It’s just that He wants to exalt us His way, not the world’s way. He wants us to see that our greatness is because of Christ’s greatness, not because of ours.

“Next time you’re tempted to talk about yourself, look around the room and see who God might have in the audience.” (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 10-17-07)

 

 

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Watchman Nee used to tell of a Chinese Christian who was a poor rice farmer. Every day, he would fill his rice patties with water only to find out that his neighbor, who was not a Christian, would drain the water into his own rice patties. For a while, the Christian ignored this offense, but soon realized that it would be his financial ruin. He prayed for a Christian way to handle this problem. He came upon a solution. He got up early the next day and filled his neighbor’s field first and then filled his own. This act of selflessness caused his neighbor to become a Christian.

-Michael Shannon, Preaching November/December 2003

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Ken Blanchard points out, “Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. It means you think of yourself less.”

-PreachingNow Vol. 3:20

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Habitat for Humanity is the well known group that organizes volunteers to build houses for the homeless. On one job site a worker was awakened at 2:00 a.m. by a noise. He went over to the almost finished house. He found one of the volunteers on his knees under the sink, laying floor tiles. The worker explained that the house was supposed to be completed the next day and he didn’t want the family to be disappointed. That man, on his knees under the sink at two o’clock in the morning was the former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter!

-Robert Shannon, Preaching March/April 1999

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Several years ago I read the story of Sammy Morris, a devoted Christian from Africa who came to America to go to school. Although his pathway to service for Christ was not easy, his difficulties never deterred him. Perhaps this was because he had learned genuine humility. One incident that showed this occurred when he arrived at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. He was asked by the school’s president what room he wanted. Sammy replied, “If there is a room nobody wants, give it to me.” Later the president commented, “I turned away, for my eyes were full of tears. I was asking myself whether I was willing to take what nobody else wanted.”

-Sermons Illustrated November/December 1988

 

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In
his newest book, The Eighth Habit, Stephen Covey reports that what the
inventor and innovator, Buckminster Fuller wanted on his epitaph.  Fuller said
that his tombstone should read, “Just a trim tab.”  What in the world did he
mean by that?  A trim tab is a small rudder that helps to turn a larger rudder. 
What a humble way to look at your contributions.  Many people discount their
faithfulness in small things.  They don’t realize that small things often affect
big things.  It is especially true for Christians that we can be satisfied being
trim tabs, if the Lord is the captain of the ship.

_______________

J.
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,
OH.

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Watchman Nee used to tell of a Chinese Christian
who was a poor rice farmer. Every day, he would fill his rice patties
with water only to find out that his neighbor, who was not a
Christian, would drain the water into his own rice patties. For a
while, the Christian ignored this offense, but soon realized that it
would be his financial ruin. He prayed for a Christian way to handle
this problem. He came upon a solution. He got up early the next day
and filled his neighbor’s field first and then filled his own. This
act of selflessness caused his neighbor to become a Christian.

_______________

J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.

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John Ortberg writes, “Not long ago, there was a CEO of a Fortune 500 company
who pulled into a service station to get gas. He went inside to pay, and when
he came out he noticed his wife engaged in a deep discussion with the service
station attendant. It turned out that she knew him. In fact, back in high school
before she met her eventual husband, she used to date this man.

“The CEO got
in the car, and the two drove in silence. He was feeling pretty good about himself
when he finally spoke: “I bet I know what you were thinking. I bet you
were thinking you’re glad you married me, a Fortune 500 CEO, and not him, a
service station attendant.”

“No, I was
thinking if I’d married him, he’d be a Fortune 500 CEO and you’d be a service
station attendant.”

 – from Love Beyond Reason, Zondervan, 1998

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Former heavyweight boxer James (Quick) Tillis is a cowboy from Oklahoma who fought out of Chicago in the early 1980s. He still remembers his first day in the Windy City after his arrival from Tulsa. “I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under my arms in downtown Chicago and stopped in front of the Sears Tower. I put my suitcases down, and I looked up at the Tower and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to conquer Chicago.’ When I looked down, the suitcases were gone.”

(from Turning Point Daily Devotional, 6/27/03)

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During World War II, Winston Churchill was awarding the Victoria Cross to an Air Force sergeant who had climbed out onto the wing of his bomber with only a rope attached to his waist – while it was 13,000 feet in the air. His efforts saved both the plane and his fellow crewmembers.

At the ceremony, the soldier was so overwhelmed by Churchill’s presence that he could barely speak. Churchill observed this and said, “You must be very humble and awkward in my presence,” to which the sergeant replied, “Yes, sir.”

Then the Prime Minister responded, “Then you can imagine how humble and awkward I feel in yours.”

It is often the characteristic of great men and women that they possess a genuine sense of humility. Humility is one of the things that makes them great.

(Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, August 2003)

 

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Moses must have seemed like an unlikely candidate for an inferiority complex. Raised in privilege as an adopted son in Pharaoh’s household, he “was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22). He even believed at one point that he was destined to be Israel’s deliverer. Yet when Moses tried to deliver Israel by his own strength and strategy the outcome was murder, rejection, and exile (Ex. 2:11-15). It is not surprising that when God finally commanded Moses to return to Egypt and rescue his fellow Israelites, he balked and asked: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

Moses is not an isolated case. The Bible contains many examples of those who initially questioned their own ability and yet were used mightily by God. Gideon didn’t think he could be used by God because he was the least member of Manasseh’s weakest clan (Judg. 6:15). Jeremiah complained that he was too young and unskilled in speech to serve as God’s prophet to the nations (Jer. 1:6). Esther was afraid that she might be put to death if she attempted to intervene on Israel’s behalf (Est. 4:11). Simon Peter believed he was too sinful to be used by God (Luke 5:8). None of these believers overstated their own weakness or the obstacles they faced. The challenges were as great as they imagined. God’s power, however, was far greater.

Today in the Word, Aug. 2003, p.29


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Ruth Harms Calkin does a masterful job on the subject of humility in her poem:

I Wonder

You know, Lord, how I serve you
with great emotional fervor in the limelight.
You know how eagerly I speak for You at a Women’s Club.
You know my genuine enthusiasm at a Bible study.
But how would I react, I wonder,
if You pointed to a basin of water
and asked me to wash the callused feet
of a bent and wrinkled old woman
day after day, month after month,
in a room where nobody saw and nobody knew?

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Walter Anderson
made an interesting observation in his book Courage is a 3 Letter Word:

Hundreds of times
I have looked into the eyes of a successful person and asked, “When it
is dark and you are alone, do you ever say to yourself, What will I do when
they find out I’m me?” I’ve never failed to make a friend with the question.
And I’ve never failed to get a nod. It was as if I know who they were, and that
I understood and, because I understood, I could be trusted. I’ve seen the cool,
disciplined, practiced composure of some of America’s toughest business leaders
melt.

________________________
Sermon’s Illustrated

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Habitat for Humanity is the well-known group that organizes volunteers to build
houses for the homeless. On one job site a worker was awakened at 2:00 a.m. by
a noise. He went over to the almost finished house. He found one of the
volunteers on his knees under the sink, laying floor tiles. The worker
explained that the house was supposed to be completed the next day and he
didn’t want the family to be disappointed. That man, on his knees under the
sink at two o’clock in the morning was the former President of the United
States, Jimmy Carter!

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We are learning a lot about ocean currents and the winds because of ducks —
and they aren’t even real ducks. A cargo vessel in the Pacific Ocean lost some
containers during a storm. One contained 29,000 plastic ducks for children’s
bathtubs. The ducks stayed afloat. Three years later they are still turning up
in strange places all around the globe. Scientists love it. They call it the
“quack heard round the world.” It’s a humbling experience to discover
how little we know when compared to how much there is to learn. God may need to
ask us, as He asked Job so long ago, “Where were you when I laid the
earth’s foundation? Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in
the recesses of the deep?” (Job 38:4, 16)

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