SCRIPTURE: Psalm 131:1-2 (NIV)
My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
A truly humble man is hard to find, yet God delights to honor such selfless people. Booker T. Washington, the renowned black educator, was an outstanding example of this truth. Shortly after he took over the presidency of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he was walking in an exclusive section of town when he was stopped by a wealthy white woman. Not knowing the famous Mr. Washington by sight, she asked if he would like to earn a few dollars by chopping wood for her. Because he had no pressing business at the moment, Professor Washington smiled, rolled up his sleeves, and proceeded to do the humble chore she had requested. When he was finished, he carried the logs into the house and stacked them by the fireplace. A little girl recognized him and later revealed his identity to the lady.
The next morning the embarrassed woman went to see Mr. Washington in his office at the Institute and apologized profusely. "It's perfectly all right, Madam," he replied. "Occasionally I enjoy a little manual labor. Besides, it's always a delight to do something for a friend." She shook his hand warmly and assured him that his meek and gracious attitude had endeared him and his work to her heart. Not long afterward she showed her admiration by persuading some wealthy acquaintances to join her in donating thousands of dollars to the Tuskegee Institute.
David had just become king of Israel, but his humble focus had not changed. He had just become the most important person in the nation, but he recognized his place in the hierarchy of the nation. No matter how mighty David would become, God would always be the mighty and glorious king of the people.
We often get pulled in two directions. One is of false humility – constantly seeing ourselves as less than everybody else; that our contributions are unimportant; that our abilities do not measure up. And then on the other hand – we are the best thing since sliced bread; everybody should be thankful that we are around; that nobody can do it better than us.
Somewhere in the middle is where we should find ourselves. Reread the psalm with that in mind. King David was realizing his place … his rightful place in the nation along with his place before God.
God had placed David on his throne. God has placed us where we are. God has put us within the fellowship of believers for purpose. He expects moral and ethical leadership and participation. And yet, he expects to be the one in charge.
We are to grow and become spiritually strong, but not so “me” focused that we can turn our backs and walk away. The act of humility is painful, but necessary. David knew it. Booker T. Washington knew it. When we give ourselves to the King and not just to the Kingdom we too shall make the same discovery.
Help us to become humble servants of the King.