Being Great AND Humble

That would be me!

Thought that would get your attention. Before you chalk me off as a pompous, arrogant SOB, read on. We recoil from folks who don't miss a chance to tell us how great they are, or how smart or skilled their children are. In fact we don't like being around the guy who wears his success on his sleeve and doesn't mind drawing attention to it at every turn.

On the other hand who wants to be around the person who grovels about unable to accept any commendation. He may crave acceptance and accolades as much as the next guy but he can't bring himself to admit it. So he's learned to act humble on the outside while strategizing to collect kudos. THAT would be me.

The Scriptures

Jesus made this poignant analogy to his disciples. "Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and recline at table'? Will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink'? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'" Luke 17:7-10 So much for an entitlement mindset!

On the other hand there are Scriptures that urge us to recognize excellence and to honor the worthy. Paul wrote, "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching." (II Timothy 5:17) Concerning Epaphroditus Paul wrote, "So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me." (Philippians 2:29-30)

It would appear then that God does not regard greatness and humility to be mutually exclusive. Of course not! Who was the greatest human being that ever lived? I dare say there's universal consensus on this. Jesus. Who was known for his humility? Again, Jesus.

Backstory

Not long ago a fellow hubber posted an interview she conducted with me. It is part of a series she titles Inspirational Voices. Mine is called Inspirational Voice of a Spiritual Kind. If you read on into the comments section, you'll find a lengthy piece by a fellow who calls himself OldSchool1812. Despite his being a bit over the top in his feelings for his father-in-law, I ate it up.

About the same time another hubber posted the following comment on one of my own hubs: "Ah, thank you! I've often seen questions regarding this and I was really short on what to say. This has really inspired me (in the real way), and one big question in my head has finally been answered :) Hopefully I can get past the barrier separating me and God :)" Now that warms any pastor's heart. It tempts this one to dream of greatness, "Crane, you're not so bad after all!

Am I alone in this struggle? Dysfunctional, psychotic, morbidly introspective? Maybe. Maybe not!

A World War II U.S. Army veteran proudly displays a medal presented to him during the 60th anniversary of “Battle of the Bulge”
A World War II U.S. Army veteran proudly displays a medal presented to him during the 60th anniversary of “Battle of the Bulge” | Source

Depends on who you are

Are you the person who has done something commendable? Yours is to credit the Lord who enabled you to succeed. "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (I Corinthians 10:31) No, I don't mean you should answer every compliment with a verbal "praise the Lord!" That gets old and sounds fake. It's a matter of the heart. Does the accolade spawn humble thankfulness or kindle a fire in your belly to get more? The latter will get you into trouble.

Are you the person who has benefited by another's good deed? Commend her, of course! Find creative and surprising ways to call attention to the other's greatness. God doesn't mind sharing his glory with the human instruments by whom he blesses us. Ours is not to make them humble but to build them up. Again there are some pretty silly phrases we Christians use that must sound hilarious to the world. How about "I love you... in the Lord"? It usually comes from someone of the opposite gender who is afraid his commendation is going to be misinterpreted. But might the recipient wonder "Am I so despicable that if it weren't for the Lord, he couldn't love me"?

How do you handle complements

  • I feel embarrassed
  • I enjoy them
  • I feel encouraged to do better
  • I avoid them
  • I make a silly comment
  • Other - see my comment below
See results without voting

Who's watching?

You say "Thank you" to the friendly cashier who competently and quickly rings up your groceries and sends you off with a heartfelt, "Have a good day!" That's cool and brightens the gloomiest of moods. You sincerely commend your wife for a delightful meal she served despite feeling a bit under the weather and tending to three toddlers. That exchange means a little more than my first example. It commends not just the act but the character of the person. And it comes from a person who knows her well. The more we know the person, the closer we are to him, the more significant is the commendation... or the lack thereof.

Now let's take it to the next level. When Almighty and All-knowing God commends you and enjoys your company, that's got to be awesome. Consider this expression of God's feelings for his own. "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

I can live with that!

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Comments - I'm listening 23 comments

liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

phdast7, you must be roaming around in my hubs. Welcome. Thanks for your comments on this one. I work at HD from 4 to 10 a.m. Monday to Friday, so it's Saturday and Sunday mornings when my body awaken early that I ponder and write hubs. Just published on this afternoon.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

liftandsoar - Thank you for a healthy understanding of the balance between humility before our Father and a reasonable sense of self-worth which allows us to function in this world and to bless and encourage others. I hope you have a good week. :)


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Thanks Jess for dropping by. You made my day! So glad you found the hub stimulating to you walk with God.


Jesshubpages 4 years ago

This week, the most important thing that God is impressing me through His Words, through fellow Christian as well as this hub is to ascribe all the glory and honor to God alone. Thank you.


Rina Pinto profile image

Rina Pinto 4 years ago from Dubai - UAE

Hello & Indeed sir, the Lord our God amidst us is Great!


FSlovenec profile image

FSlovenec 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

I like it thank you


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Thanks, Dave, for your comment. Appreciate your honesty.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 4 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

liftandsoar: Thank you for this Hub. First let me say that any person, I mean any person who in their own mind at least does not think themselves great for one reason or another, either has a low self-esteem or is a liar. That includes me too. But Because I realize that God is much more than I can ever aspire to be, I humble myself, before Him. This does not mean though that I do not like to toot my own horn but it feels better when someone else does it for me.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

You nailed it, Hyphenbird. Thanks


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Since we are in the likeness of God Himself, we should be proud of who we are in Him. When we become proud in our own accord, we tread dangerous ground. I believe the pride comes from knowing we are His children and the humbleness from knowing the same. Even when complimented on something I have done, writing or photography for example, I know I am exceptional in these because God placed these gifts inside me. Excellent topic liftandsoar.


Rina Pinto profile image

Rina Pinto 4 years ago from Dubai - UAE

The Greatest of all e.g. here on Earth or Heavens is Jesus - Being Great And YET humble " Jesus was humble in His Spirit yet Strong, In His Body Yet Lived by the Bread of Life - The Word & His Mind was Mind that of God yet in a human body. What wonderful Love was that only to Restore us earthly weaklings/sinners into His Father's KINGDOM!


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Indeed, Rina


Rina Pinto profile image

Rina Pinto 4 years ago from Dubai - UAE

Dear Sir,

What a Blessing we find in - Deuteronomy. 33:25 - "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be."

God Bless you Sir!


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

My dear Rina, I can't imagine what I wrote that gave you the impression that you had offended me. I dont' get offended very easily. I was sharing with you what I believe confirms your sentiment concerning my "tending" my flocks. There's a sense in which the Lord has given me a world wide flock. Glad to have you included in it. Indeed God has blessed me and you are among those blessings.


Rina Pinto profile image

Rina Pinto 4 years ago from Dubai - UAE

hope not to offend you Sir, I meant all good to your encouraging Hubs here and i am my self following you ... I am sorry if you felt uncomfortable with my replies. God Bless you Dear man of God.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Rina Pinto, Wow, all the way from Dubai. This old man isn't used to a world wide web yet. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your encouraging comment. You speak of my tending to my flocks. During my 43 years as a pastor, I never had a congregation of over 400 members. But on HubPages in just ten months my hubs have garnered over 5000 visits with around 300 responses. I realize that by some standards that's poor performance. But it seems I've touched more people after retirement than before. God is good.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Yes, BlossomSB, you've put your finger on the issue. In God's economy to be humble is to be great! and to be faithful is success. Thanks for stopping by.


Rina Pinto profile image

Rina Pinto 4 years ago from Dubai - UAE

Dear liftandsoar, Yahweh makes us Perfect through His Son Jesus our Savior, Wonderful to have God(potter) that continues to fashion us(clay) into the vessel that is fit enough for His work here on Earth!

Thanks for the encouragement through your hubs. Continue to tend your flocks through this wonderful mode of communications through the Ends of the World .. Be Blessed o Wonderful Man of God, who sees and shows us through His(Lord God) eyes.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

A very interesting subject you have chosen for a hub. It is something that, as a Christian I often think about, especially when I fall short of my goals.

I think that only truly humble people can be great.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Wow Vector7, do I have to practice what I write? You're making it hard! :-) Thanks for your comment.


vector7 profile image

vector7 4 years ago

Added to my all time favorite articles. I can never get enough of insight on this subject.

Your explanation is brilliant.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Thanks Jo, as the inspiration for this one I wondered what you would think of it.


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 4 years ago

I really enjoyed this hub. You have outlined it just perfectly. When we found our rescue puppy prancer. This was a humbling experience for me. She was sick and I knew that she needed me. I think when God uses vessels like an animal or even a human to help reveal the way we should have our hearts in line with him. He is the most humble afterall. What a great teacher! I voted up and shared on twitter! :)

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