Snapshots: Day 159
The Snapshot: “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.” (Ruth 2:13) These early verses of Ruth are a mix of the providence of God and the character of Ruth being revealed. To her other attributes must now be added humility. Very often people in difficult and trying circumstances exhibit a brash defensiveness, not so Ruth. She is a foreigner and foreigners often try to make their mark, prove their worth, not so Ruth. Humility recognizes weakness in a good way. Mother Teresa once wrote that we practice humility by never standing on one’s dignity, i.e. we never make demands for our worth to be respected. We simply trust God with our reputation. That is being godly. Let’s be godly people today.
Further Consideration: Humility is not something much talked about today. It rarely features in the lives of politicians or ‘celebrities’ it seems, yet I have observed it in one particular quiz expert on TV. This man, who must have a photographic mind and able to hold an incredible number of facts in his mind, competes against members of the public in a way that can only be described as gracious, humble and encouraging. He often praises his competitors, either when they have won or lost. His humility never exalts his own amazing capabilities; in fact he often comments on how he’s not doing well or having a bad day. It is almost as if he is wanting to lift up those competing against him. Now that is humility.
Humility has a modesty that recognizes both the good and the not good in self. Dickens’ Uriah Heep was the epitome of the not-humble, with his hand-rinsing movements and his declaration that, “I am but a humble man,” declaring the falseness of it. One of the things about humility is that it does not declare itself.
But, as we just intimated, humility is able to speak honestly about both our good points and no-good points. When God has enabled us to achieve something or do something well, it is not wrong to acknowledge that. Paul’s description of us being ‘jars of clay’, (2 Cor 4:7) earthen pots that hold the glory of God, remind us of Isaiah’s words, “We are the clay, you are the potter.” (Isa 64:8). This recognition is the balance of true humility, recognizing that of ourselves we are nothing, and yet in His hands we can be used to achieve great things. Never be afraid to balance and acknowledge both things, the grubby and the glorious aspect of our lives.
If, like Ruth, we come as servants in humility, we can be used by God and His glory seen through us. Her humility, I think, stirred something in Boaz that opened up the way ahead. Beautiful!