A Humble Heart
Another Way for week of May 2018
A Humble Heart
I’ve made my living for over forty years as a writer, which evolved into many varieties of media: script writer for TV documentaries and radio programs, ads, news, reports, columns, magazines, books, and editing all of the above. So I enjoy the written word.
Some of the loveliest writing is found in the Bible. No matter what you believe, the writings in the Bible can be appreciated as poetry, hymns, well-told stories, wise proverbs, and encouragement to practice kindness and love. Of course there are also horrific battle scenes and cruelties, dry legalities and rituals, endless genealogies, and esoteric prophecies.
Today we’re focusing on the lovely. Everybody knows (don’t they?) the poetic writing in passages like Psalm 23 and 1 Corinthians 13. If you’ve been to a funeral you’ve probably heard that Psalm and if you’ve been to a wedding, you’ve heard the Corinthian passage.
Not long ago I was struck by the lyrical writing in 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31. I’ve formatted it to look like a poem:
Consider your own call, brothers and sisters:
not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world,
things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,
so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God.
Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. (New Revised Standard Version)
Paul, the writer of the passage above, was also a great orator by some accounts. But he was all about staying humble and encouraging the best from people regarding love, patience, and compassion.
Another favorite Psalm of mine—and this one is not read at funerals or weddings—is this very intimate picture. It also has to do with humbleness of heart:
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.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore. (Psalm 131: 1-2 New International Version)
The reminder to turn away from pride and haughtiness knocks at my heart.
Another oft-quoted passage is also about humility. This is often the poster slogan of the peace and justice crowd, and has been often set to lovely music. But we sometimes overlook the humility part of Micah 6:8:
[God] has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
I want to emphasize the last two “requires:” to love kindness and walk humbly. I’m not always sure how to do the first requirement of Micah—justice. That seems like a big job and calling, but we can all do better in the kindness and humility department, starting today. How is that speaking to you?
As we seek success in whatever our calling in life, it is easy to get swept up in competitive ways. We desire promotions, better pay, recognition from peers. Most of us are tempted that way. Working hard is a good thing and financial security is important. But we also need to carry alongside Micah’s words to walk humbly and show kindness. Live with that reminder this week.
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Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.