Today, I’d like to talk about the old-fashioned virtue of humility.
God’s big message for you today?
Let me start with a story.
One day, a bus driver was driving a bunch of seniors—people in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. They called themselves Club 20. Because they got 20% discounts in restaurants and drugstores.
Soon, the little old lady in the front row tapped his shoulder and gave him a big bag of peanuts. And the driver ate them.
Ten minutes later, she handed him another big bag of peanuts. And munched all of them again.
Ten minutes later, the old lady gave him another bag of peanuts.
The driver said, “Thank you! They’re delicious. But I’ve had enough. I finished two big bags of peanuts.”
The old lady said, “Oh, I didn’t want you eat them, I just wanted you to throw them away for us.”
“Throw them away?” the driver asked, “Why don’t you eat them?”
“All of us don’t have teeth anymore.”
“So why do you buy them?” he asked.
She said, “Oh, we like the chocolate around them, and after sucking them, we throw away the peanuts.”
Removing The Confusion From Humility
Humility confuses a lot of people because it’s just like the chocolate covered peanut. We’ve mixed humility with other stuff that doesn’t belong to humility.
We need to remove the chocolate.
I remember a classmate who was a very shy person.
We called her Isabel the Invisible.
She was so shy and so quiet, we sometimes forgot she existed. The only reason we knew she was still alive was at the start of the class—when the teacher called her name during roll call. “Isabel” the teacher would say, and we’d see her raise her hand just slightly so. After that, she’d blend into the grey walls of the classroom and vanish.
And when we did see her, her hair covered half of her face, so we really didn’t know how she looked like.
But if you read our Yearbook, you’d see a description beneath her Photo: “Isabel is a very humble person.”
Why? People confuse humility with timidity.
But they’re worlds apart.
Timidity is matter of personality, or insecurity, or cowardice, or selfishness. But it isn’t humility.
In fact, you can be humble and confident at the same time.
Yes, you can be humble and aggressive at the same time!
How do I know?
The Bible calls Moses the most humble man on earth (See Numbers 12:1). And yet this “most humble” man challenged Pharaoh and told the guy, “Let my people go!” If that’s not aggressiveness, I don’t know what is!
So What Is Humility?
Humility is a multi-faceted jewel.
But all these facets point to one thing: Being empty.
I believe this emptiness has three distinct expressions…
o A Humble Person is a Seeker
o A Humble Person is a Student
o A Humble Person is a Servant
1. A Humble Person Is A Seeker
I love sharing this story.
One day, a young monk visited an older monk and asked, “Master, what is the secret of humility?”
The older monk said, “Let’s take a walk…”
The two men walked down to the river.
The older monk led the younger monk in the water. When the river reached their chests, without warning, the older monk held the head of the younger monk, and dunked him into the water!
The younger monk struggled, his arms splashing wildly, but the older monk held his head under the water.
When the younger man was almost blacking out, an inch away from death, the older monk pulled him up—and the young monk sucked in air like he was an industrial vacuum cleaner.
In between breaths, he asked in a frantic voice, “Why the heck did you do that for?”
The older man smiled and said, “The secret of humility is to seek for God the way you’re seeking for oxygen now.”
I repeat: Humility is being empty.
Humility is being desperate that God fill you up.
When You Don’t Know The Solution
I know a young guy who doesn’t like Math.
So everytime he takes a Math exam, he prays a lot.
During the exam, when he knows the solution to the Math problem, he says, “Lord, this is mine. I’ll take care of this…”
But when he doesn’t know the answer, he says, “Lord, it’s your turn to solve this problem…”
I believe Life is a giant exam.
Some problems you face are easy because you know the solutions.
But sometimes, life throws you a problem you don’t know how to solve. And that’s when you pray, “Lord, it’s your turn to solve this problem…”
When you have a problem you can’t solve, you become humble. You’re forced to be empty. And empty is good.
Because you have more space for blessings.
And then the second expression of humility is being teachable…
2. A Humble Person Is A Student
Have you ever wondered?
Why is it that the biggest athletes of the world still follow coaches? Golfing wonder Tiger Woods is coached by a “swing” coach named Sean Foley. Best Boxer in the world Manny Pacquiao has a coach named Freddie Roach and a fitness coach named Alex Ariza. Tennis Champ Rafael Nadal is coached by his uncle Toni Nadal.
Think about it.
These guys are already the greatest in their sport.
You’d think that after receiving a warehouse of trophies, they already knew everything there is to know about their sport.
And who are those that don’t have coaches?
Those who aren’t very good.
The more you know, the more you know that you don’t know. And the more you succeed, the more humble you should be.
The day a successful person stops being humble is the day he prepares for his downfall.
Success Can Only Come From Humility
Humility is being empty.
The moment you think you’re full, there’ll be no space for anything new.
I’m reading a business book now.
The title is Seduced By Success.
It talks about how many giant companies that have tasted phenomenal success become utter failures in the next decade.
They get seduced by their success.
In other words?
They lost their humility.
Get A Mentor
Perhaps you can achieve some success without a mentor. But I believe you can’t achieve high-level, enduring, fantastic success without a mentor.
Look in the Bible and you’ll see mentoring.
Samuel mentored David.
Naomi mentored Ruth.
Paul mentored Timothy.
Moses mentored Joshua.
And at one point in his life, Moses was mentored by Jethro, his father-in-law.
I found this amazing.
If you’re Moses, why listen to anybody?
Especially a non-Israelite, a priest of Midian at that?
Jethro didn’t even belong to the same religion.
But that’s why the Bible calls Moses the most humble man on earth.
Moses could have said, “Jethro, how dare you give advice to me? I’m the guy who met God face-to-face in the Burning Bush. I’m the guy who carried the tablets of the Ten Commandments in his arms. I’m the guy who led the slaves out of Egypt. I’m the guy who divided the Red Sea and drowned the chariots of Pharaoh. I’m The Guy!”
But Moses said no such thing.
He was humble.
He was a student.
He was willing to learn from anyone God would send to him.
Take Your Shortcut To Success
One day, two women came up to me and asked me, “Bo, why are you so successful in different areas of your life? You’ve got a great family, your finances are doing well, and you’re so handsome and good-looking…”
I told those two women, “Thanks Mom. Thanks Sweetheart.”
All my success comes from God’s Mercy.
No other reason.
And God’s Mercy sometimes comes in a form of Mentors.
I have a Mentor for every area of my life!
I have mentors for my family life. These are people with beautiful marriages. People who are fantastic parents to their kids.
I have mentors for my spiritual life. These are people who are the most loving human beings on the planet.
I have mentors for my businesses and investments. These are billionaires and multimillionaires who love God with their wealth.
I have mentors for my health. These are holistic healers who have the gift of healing.
I have mentors for my ministry work. These are bishops, priests, and pastors who lead their flock with deep love and great effectiveness.
Believe me, I can’t imagine myself going through life without mentors.
If You Don’t Have Mentors,
You Miss A Lot!
Don’t miss on a truckload of blessings.
Your marriage could be so much better if you had a Family Mentor. Your finances could be so much better if you had a Financial Mentor. Your health could be so much better if you had a Health Mentor. Your soul could be so much better if you had a Spiritual Mentor.
A humble person sees God in every person.
A humble person is slow to judge.
A humble person focuses on the strengths of each person (not on his weaknesses) and learns from those strengths.
Open Your Eyes
I believe God has already sent you Mentors.
God has pre-arranged special people in your life to inspire you, challenge you, teach you, and train you.
Some of these Mentors are right beside you. You can call them. You can have lunch with them.
Some of these Mentors aren’t beside you, but their words are available to you through books, talks, and seminars.
But many times, you don’t recognize a Mentor God has sent into our life. Perhaps because like Jethro, Mentors can come wearing a different uniform.
Goodness, some Mentors don’t even look like a Mentor.
If you’ll be empty enough and humble enough, you’ll be surprised at the Mentors God will send to you.
Here’s my point: My life is so much richer because I’ve stayed empty. And I’m willing to learn from anyone whom God sends towards my direction.
In fact, in the Bible, God used a donkey to speak His word (See Numbers 22). That’s why preachers like me should never be proud. His standards are very low!
Get A Mentor
Getting a mentor is the shortcut to success!
Come to the Feast every week and listen to God’s Word.
Pursue friendships with wise people.
Listen to the stories of ordinary people around you.
Finally, humility has a third expression…
3. A Humble Person Is A Servant
Some people also confuse humility with low self-worth.
Hey, I’m a world-renowned expert in low self-worth.
I was afflicted with it for 20 years.
I hated myself.
I felt I was ugly, ungifted, and unlovable.
Believe me when I say this: Low self-worth has nothing to do with humility.
Low self-worth is a virus.
Humility is a virtue.
Low self-worth is thinking of yourself in a small way.
Humility is not thinking of yourself at all, period.
Why? Because you’re thinking of others more.
The Bible says, be humble towards one another, always considering others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
In other words, a humble person sees every human being as a child of God and is worthy of his service.
Humility is not only being empty.
Humility is emptying oneself by pouring ourselves to others.
I won’t elaborate this third expression of humility because this is selflessness and kindness—and we talked about this already.
Let me end with one last story.
Will You Trust?
One day, a mountaineer was going up a very high mountain.
He was so proud, he was climbing all by himself.
It was very dangerous to climb up a snowy mountain all alone, but he was so proud, he believed he didn’t need anyone.
By nightfall, common sense dictated that he set up camp. But he kept climbing because he wanted to reach the summit quickly.
But in his exhaustion, his foot slipped.
And he found himself free falling through the air. He closed his eyes and saw flashbacks of his life.
All of a sudden, he felt a jolt—and violent pull around his waist. The rope tied around his belt saved him!
In total darkness, he was now hanging onto his rope.
And he shouted, “God, if you’re up there, save me!”
Suddenly, he heard a voice say, “If you believe that I can save you, do what I tell you to do…”
He answered, “What should I do?”
The voice said, “Cut your rope.”
“Wha…what?” he said.
“Cut the rope and let go,” the voice said.
After a few moments, he shouted again, “Is there anyone else up there?”
The next day, mountain climbers saw his limp body, hanging by the rope, frozen to death. The curious thing about what they saw? He was hanging only 2 feet from the ground.
He was a proud person, even until his death.
Many people are like that: They trust in their rope more than in their God. They trust in their money, in their abilities, in their connections, in their intelligence more than in their God.
Will you trust God today for the problems that you don’t know how to solve?
The rope symbolizes your pride.
Cut the rope and let go.
Trust in God.
Stay empty. Stay humble.
And receive all that God has promised for you.
One Last Story: The Last Humiliation
A few days ago, my neighbor died.
He was 80 years old.
Two days ago, I visited his wake.
As I viewed the coffin, I was struck by one fact I never realized before: The old man had a large mole at the side of his chin.
Exactly like my mole.
In exactly the same place!
And in an eerie sort of way, I felt was looking at myself in a coffin.
It sent shivers down my spine.
I felt God was telling me, “One day, it’ll be your turn to be in that box.”
I realized that death is the last humiliation.
No matter how much money, or achievements, or successes we gain on earth—we’ll be humbled by death—and we’ll be empty again.
Pride is useless.
I’m choosing to be humble.
May your dreams come true,
PS. By the way, did you know? KerygmaConference 2010 will bein Cebu and Davao on December 4! If you have friends there, tell them about it. It will rock their world! To my dear friends in Cebu and Davao, see you soon!
For Cebu’s KerygmaConference, log on to http://kerygmafeastcebu.blogspot.com/.
For Davao KerygmaConference, log on to http://www.Kcon-davao.com/.
PS2. For those who live far away: I’ve created two online experiences that will make you grow in your personal life: (Best thing? They’re Free.)
First, get inspiring Bible reflections everyday plus Kerygma magazine online. Sign up at www.KerygmaFamily.com now!
Second, get twice-a-week personal “whispers from God” that will blow you away by their sheer simplicity and power. Sign up at www.GodWhispersClub.com now!
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