As I wrote, we must understand humility if we are going to live humbly. Though I wrote the words in the devotional months ago, God recently taught me a lesson about this...last weekend to be exact.
My husband, Job, is an elder at our small county church, which means once every few months he is in charge of setting up communion. This role means I am responsible for making a loaf of bread...something that is NOT a gift of mine.
By Saturday afternoon, I had successfully made two loaves of bread...the kids were thrilled to enjoy one for supper and I did what every mom of hungry kids would do with the other - hide it! Time came for baths and the bedtime routine, so I set the bread out on the counter knowing it'd be easy for Job to find when he left to set up.
With baths over I dressed Jesse, my 3 year old, and sent him off; then I did the same with Jed, my 5 year old. As I finished cleaning up I heard Jed, "Mom, come quick, Jesse eatin bread!!!!"
Instantly, I knew exactly what had happened. I entered the kitchen to find this...
A flood of thoughts entered my mind, but it all came down to, "What are we going to do?" Minutes later Job came in and his first reaction was far different than mine...he laughed, which only added to my frustration. At 8:30 I put the kids to bed and then returned to the kitchen.
Thankfully I had one more loaf of frozen bread dough; I found the directions and moved forward with the fastest baking plan. At 11:30 PM I opened the oven and found what I called, a "Humpty Dumpty" loaf of bread...I don't know what happened, but it looked bad.
Honestly I wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn't fall. I knew there was nothing I could do so I went to bed...a short time later Job came in from a late night in the field. He saw the bread, didn't say a word and then I asked him, "What are we going to do?" He assured me it would be alright.
I went to sleep asking God to work it out...I wasn't sure how that would happen - I'd already contacted my three bread making friends, we are an hour from the nearest store that would have a loaf of homemade looking bread and church was at 8:30. Yet there was a part of me that knew it would be alright.
At 4 AM I woke up and knew I was to get up and try again. This time I found a recipe for my bread machine, prayed as I added the ingredients and returned to bed asking God to do it. By 6 I was back up, put the dough in pans and let it rise. During this time, my brother-in-law stopped by and asked for the communion bread...Job had asked him to take it to church. I wrapped up the "Humpty Dumpty" loaf and Satan reminded me I wasn't cut out to be an elder's wife.
Time kept ticking away as I did the dishes, while I stood at the sink I thought about the devotions I was sharing this week - both were on the topic of humility. I specifically got to thinking about what humility really is and more specifically what it should like in the situation I was in. God had me, a recovering people pleaser with a life long approval addiction, on this one. "Why was I making another loaf of bread?" was the question He put on my heart.
I would like to say it was because communion is important, it's a holy sacrament and something I want to do right to honor God. I also remembered the widow how didn't give much, but gave all she had and wondered if God was telling me my messed up loaf was enough. Friend, those things are all true, but I know I was also worried about what others would think.
So when my daughter looked at the nice freshly baked loaves of bread and asked, "Which one are you going to take to church?" I simply responded, "I might not take either one." She, the girl who inherited a bit of my addiction, was shocked and asked, "Why?"
I told her what God had been showing me about humility and how I really didn't know my answer to His question. Then I explained how our actions might look humble, but if they come from a prideful heart it's not humility at all. She looked at me a bit confused and then left to get ready for church.
After our conversation, I had peace about the whole situation and was prepared to leave it in my husband's hands...thinking he'd say it wasn't a big deal, nobody would notice and we didn't have time to switch it anyway.
He came in from chores, entered the kitchen, and called to me in the other room, "Why don't you run this loaf down to the church right now." I didn't ask any questions and then did what he said...I knew submitting to my husband was the humble thing to do.
Time for church came and after a powerful sermon we took part in the breaking of the bread. As our pastor echoed Jesus' words from the last supper and lifted the loaf of bread...I had peace. I had heard God's voice at 4 AM, followed His directions and made the bread for Him. I gave Him the best of what I had and He was pleased with my perseverance.
He wants and deserves our best...friends that's not always easy and rarely does it come without trouble, but if we humble ourselves it is possible. When we do this He will bless our obedience and be glorified by our actions.
Friend, I pray you are encouraged to really think about what humility is...may we never forget that it is directly connected to the fear of the Lord. May we move past worrying about what others expect and focus on giving God what He deserves. What does God deserve from you today? Your obedience, your praise, your thankfulness, your heart, your time, your money, your 5th loaf of bread? I don't know, but God does - ask Him and then pray for the humility to make it happen!
A few more thoughts on humility -
"God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us." Martin Luther
"Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil's reach as humility." Jonathon Edwards
"I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves - one above another - and the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God's gifts are on shelves - and the lower we stoop, the more we get." F.B. Meyer
"He who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 14:11
"God...gives grace to the humble...Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up." James 4:6,10
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time." 1 Peter 5:6