We live in a culture that does tend to value humility out of the many virtues we have destroyed. Unfortunately, I think we’ve valued it to a point that it is not meant to be valued. Ambition is often seen as a bad thing as well as the desire to succeed. In order to make ourselves be humble, many of us cut ourselves short.
Yes. It’s an experience this blogger knows all too well.
I do not believe I am alone in this either. I have spoken to many friends and thanked them for saying something that they considered small. I am often told something along the lines of “That little thing helped?” Yes. It did. I can hear about something someone else said and I am just awed at a compliment I hear about. They might have said it off-hand, but it meant a lot. In fact, it means more if it’s said off-hand. There are less chances that it is faked.
Of course, this can sadly work in the opposite way. Many times, we can all be cut by one small thing someone says or does. While we may be stunned at the effect our words can have for good on other people, we should also be aware of the effect that our words and actions can have for ill on other people as well.
Every human being is a dynamic force in the universe. How could they not be? They are bearers of the image of God? We change the world by our every action. We have something supernatural in our very being by reflecting him. Our very rational processes scream design.
Yet, we doubt.
It is only a little sin that I am committing. It will not hurt things in the long run. It does not matter what I say to this person or how I treat them. How do you know? People commit suicide for a reason. Maybe it might be something we say. (Or dare I say it, something we should say but fail to.) People say the church shows no love for a reason. Ask yourself why if you’re a member of it.
It won’t make a difference what I do. I’m only one person. I’m just not that capable. How do you know? Upon what is this knowledge based? You’d be surprised how one word or action can change someone. You want evidence? Look at the little things people have done or said to you that have helped you in huge ways? Think they were trying to do something monumental every time?
The truth is, we are great beings. Ephesians 6 describes us in heavenly battle going out and facing the evil one and expunging his darts. We are told that we are the light of the world. Not just a city. We’re the light of the world. We have to touch it all. We are told we are stars shining in the universe.
You want to see how the Bible speaks of us who are children of God? It often speaks of us quite highly and in ways that stun us. Consider 1 John 3:1. We are children of God, and that is what we are! It is almost as if John had to repeat it because it was so shocking a truth and he wanted us to get it.
Epictetus was a Stoic Philosopher who lived aroung 55-135 A.D. He was most likely born a slave, which was a lowly position, but in his Golden Sayings, he had some profound ideas. If we understood them in Christian terminology, how great it would be.
If a man could be throughly penetrated, as he ought, with
this thought, that we are all in an especial manner sprung from
God, and that God is the Father of men as well as of Gods, full
surely he would never conceive aught ignoble or base of himself.
Whereas if Caesar were to adopt you, your haughty looks would be
intolerable; will you not be elated at knowing that you are the
son of God? Now however it is not so with us: but seeing that in
our birth these two things are commingled–the body which we
share with the animals, and the Reason and Thought which we share
with the Gods, many decline towards this unhappy kinship with the
dead, few rise to the blessed kinship with the Divine. Since then
every one must deal with each thing according to the view which
he forms about it, those few who hold that they are born for
fidelity, modesty, and unerring sureness in dealing with the
things of sense, never conceive aught base or ignoble of
themselves: but the multitude the contrary. Why, what am I?–A
wretched human creature; with this miserable flesh of mine.
Miserable indeed! but you have something better than that paltry
flesh of yours. Why then cling to the one, and neglect the other?
He that hath grasped the administration of the World, who
hath learned that this Community, which consists of God and men,
is the foremost and mightiest and most comprehensive of all:–
that from God have descended the germs of life, not to my father
only and father’s father, but to all things that are born and
grow upon the earth, and in an especial manner to those endowed with Reason (for those only are by their nature fitted to hold
communion with God, being by means of Reason conjoined with Him)
–why should not such an one call himself a citizen of the world?
Why not a son of God? Why should he fear aught that comes to pass
among men? Shall kinship with Caesar, or any other of the great
at Rome, be enough to hedge men around with safety and
consideration, without a thought of apprehension: while to have
God for our Maker, and Father, and Kinsman, shall not this set us
free from sorrows and fears?
Indeed, we are to be put to shame when it seems at times the pagans have a greater concept of the realities of our faith than we do. (It could be Epictetus was influenced by some Christians.)
Dear friend. Today, we need to stop underestimating ourselves and realize what we can do. We are told to change the world for Christ. Let’s do it. Let’s go about encouraging and empowering one another. This is our divine mission. This is our calling. Let us not think for a moment also that we would not be given this calling if it was not believed that we wouldn’t succeed.