“Hey Pastor Rob,” he said, not sure if I would remember him. Years had passed and life had carried us in different directions. At first, from across the parking lot, it was hard to recognize him. As I placed my last bag of groceries down, closed my car door and looked a little harder, who he was became clear. “Oh Hey,” I said. “How are you?” “Great,” he grinned back. “How’s the family,” I asked. “Doing fantastic” he replied. “Is that the same car,” he said, looking at my 2003 Subaru Forester. “Sure is,” I said. “Pushing a hundred and eighty thousand miles and still going strong. It’s been a great little car.” His response caught me by surprise. “You’re a humble man,” he said. Now I’m not sure what he meant by his comment, but the way it hit me was a little personal. After an awkward chuckle and a brief goodbye, while driving home, his words lingered in my mind.
Being a humble man is certainly something I’m interested in attaining but what’s that have to do with my little green Subaru? I mean come on. That little car has carried me places most cars wouldn’t dream of going. Through thick beach sand, mud, winding dirt logging roads, you name it, my Subaru has been there. Besides, it’s paid for and nowadays that’s something I enjoy.
I suppose because I’ve not replaced it in years, the man I ran into interpreted that to mean that I must not care about what people think of me. Hmm… Though God and I are working on that, if it were currently true, I’m sure his comment wouldn’t have even fazed me. Unfortunately, it did.
Now I will say, I do agree with the man’s interpretation of humility. To me, real humility is being more concerned with what God thinks about us than man. The opposite of pride, humility gets its approval and self-image needs met by looking for God’s acceptance first and foremost. When thinking about that, these passages of scripture, referring to Jesus, come to mind.
“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:42-43)
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, Him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, Him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)
“The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
These verses, along with many others, show just how important living to God and not to man really is. Though I’m convinced that having nice things that cause people to look is not evil in and of itself, if it’s the place from which our personal self-worth is established and the thing that makes us feel like we fit in, look out, pride and destruction are waiting just around the corner. By the way, you don’t have to have nice things to struggle with pride. Pride wears many masks. It can pray in prayer meetings, preach from pulpits, cloth itself in humble attire and strangely, be proud of its so-called humility.
As for me, at the moment, my little Subaru is serving me well. As long as God and my wife are ok with it, I’ll probably hold on to it just a little longer.
If you something inside of you spoke while reading this, please re-share.