The Importance of Being Humble

church-and-sky
Lake Tekapo’s Church of the Good Shepherd and the Milky Way

What would our theology be if we could see these stars every night everywhere in the world?

This is the question I asked myself and my friend Sarah after wandering out to see the stars at Lake Tekapo at midnight and then again at 4:00 a.m.

We had to wait for the clouds to break for us to enjoy this sumptuous banquet of stars. Once this was a commonplace site in all parts of the world. Now with most people living in light or air polluted places, humanity does not have this nightly reminder of our place in the universe.

Not everyone looks at the stars and sees a creator amongst them. But even the humanist or scientist does gain humility from seeing all the possible galaxies and worlds. Maybe, just maybe, earth is not the only one that matters. And perhaps the concerns and emotions that can rule my existence may be seen in a proper perspective if I spend some time meditating on or admiring the cosmos.

you-are-here

Maybe, just maybe, the stars could be a nightly reminder of the importance of being humble.

I was going to end my ruminations here and then I thought, maybe not everyone appreciates humility as a character trait. Certainly the media gives the vast amount of attention to the braggart and the self promoter.

Micah 6:8 says: He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (King James translation)

I read an article in The Jewish Week that said humility is the difference between a professor and a sage. (Ouch!)  They also offered this definition of humility on LetItRipple.org: Thinking yourself worthless is not humility. To understand that you have gifts and blessings and yet remain modest is an achievement of character.

Sometimes it is easier to understand humility by what it is not: proud, self-willed, arrogant. Not putting ourselves ahead of others, instead the humble understand that every human matters. And if we know that every human matters, we are a long way to seeing how everyone is interconnected, and then there is no “us” and “them”. What a world that would be!

 

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