Gabriel's Horn, Pastor George Weaver, November 2010

posted Feb 25, 2011, 12:28 PM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Feb 25, 2011, 12:32 PM ]
Cultivating a Humble Spirit
Mike was the most popular guy around, at least, according to him.  “A lot of women are gonna be totally miserable when I marry,” he boasted to his date.   “Really?” she said.  “And just how many women are you intending to marry, Mr. Wonderful?

Consider this story of a young woman who wanted to go to college.  When she read the question on the admission form that asked, “Are you a leader?”, her heart sank considerably.  Being both honest and conscientious, she simply wrote, “No”, and returned the application, expecting the worst.

To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: “Dear applicant:  A study of the admission forms we have received reveals that for this year our school plans to enroll 1,452 new leaders. We would also like to accept you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower.”:  Just a bit of humble pie will usually go well with a rich meal.  (Adapted from “A Humble Spirit” by Steve Goodier).

Actually, what passes for conceit in many people is often just a plea for attention. A poor sense of self may cause one to want to be the most prominent star in every constellation. Humility, on the other hand, does not require that one shine less brightly than others; simply that all be given an opportunity to shine.

Booker T. Washington, the well-known 19th Century African American educator, exemplified the power of a simple and modest spirit.  A story is told of a day when Mr. Washington, then a professor at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, happened to be passing by the mansion of a wealthy woman as he walked to work.

The woman did not recognize him and called out, “Hey you! Come here! I need some wood chopped!”  As a product of her southern post-Civil War culture and upbringing, she perceived him as just another black man who was there to do her bidding.

Without a word, Dr. Washington peeled off his jacket, picked up the axe and went to work busily.  He not only cut a large pile of wood, he also carried the firewood into the house and arranged it neatly by the fireplace.  He had scarcely left when one of the woman’s servants said to her mistress, “I guess you didn’t recognize him, ma’am, but that was Professor Washington!”

Embarrassed and ashamed, the woman hurried over to Tuskegee Institute to offer an apology.  The great educator respectfully replied: “There’s no need to apologize, madam.  I’m always delighted to do favors for my friends!”

The professor may have taught one of his greatest lessons that day.  It is a lesson on having a humble spirit that each generation and much of society still needs to learn.  “Every star is able to shine without any one star having to out-shine all the others.”

Have a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving season:  Pastor George M. Weaver