“I have met two classes of Christians: the proud who imagine they are humble and the humble who are afraid they are proud. There should be another class: the self-forgetful who leave the whole thing in the hands of Christ and refuse to waste any time trying to make themselves good. They will reach the goal far ahead of the rest.” This quote by A.W. Tozer still rings true today.
In 1878, when William Booth’s Salvation Army was beginning to make its mark, men and women from all over the world began to enlist. One man, who had once dreamed of becoming a bishop, crossed the Atlantic from
America to England to enlist. Samuel Brengle left a fine pastorate to join
Booth’s Army. But at first General Booth accepted his services reluctantly and
grudgingly. Booth said to Brengle, “You’ve been your own boss too long.” And in order to instill humility in Brengle, he set him to work cleaning the boots of
other trainees. Discouraged, Brengle said to himself, “Have I followed my own
fancy across the Atlantic in order to black boots?” And then, as in a vision,
he saw Jesus bending over the feet of rough, unlettered fishermen. “Lord,” he
whispered, “You washed their feet; I will black their shoes.” After learning
this important lesson, Samuel Brengle went on to be used mightily by God in the Salvation Army.
I Peter 5:5 (NIV) tells us, “… clothe yourselves with humility
toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the
humble.’” The word clothe in the Greek means “to attach a piece of
clothing to oneself.” In the New Testament times, slaves attached a white piece of cloth on their clothing so that others would know that they were slaves.
Peter exhorts us to tie the cloth of humility on ourselves in order to be
identified as believers in Christ as we act humbly toward others. In this way
we will receive God’s grace when we need it.
The next verse sums it up: “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due time” (1Peter 5:6). If we try to do God’s job, (exalt ourselves), then God will have to do our job (humble us). God, grant us the grace to do our job and let the rest up to you.
On a personal note, I just returned from Kenya and Uganda. The church is alive and well in these nations. Thanks, Omondis and Tumusiimes, for your amazing hospitality!