When I hear the word humble, I can't help but think about Wilbur the pig in the book Charlotte's Web. Charlotte the spider is trying to save Wilbur's life and begins spinning words in her web to show the world what a great pig Wilbur really is. One of the words she uses to describe him is "humble". She says, "Humble has two meanings. It means 'not proud' and it means 'low to the ground'. That's Wilbur all over."
As Christians, I think that is often how we view humility, being low to the ground, inferior, a pig wallowing in the mud. After all we ARE told to be humble more than once in the Bible. So we become proud of being humble, of seeing ourselves as lowly and self-incriminating.
At a retreat I was recently able to attend, the leader pointed out that we are made in God's image. There are over 7 billion people living in the world today, and each of us is a unique representation of part of God's greatness. It has taken well over 7 billion people to even begin to express the greatness and image of God. I am (and YOU are) a unique reflection that is unlike anyone else. We have the enviable job of finding the greatness of God in others and in ourselves. We practiced doing that at the retreat. We sat facing each other in groups of four, sitting knee to knee declaring to each other, "the greatness of God I see in you is...." And I have to tell you, it was life changing for me. But how does being humble, "low to the ground", fit in with seeing greatness in each other and in ourselves? The answer is really quite simple. Instead of a pig wallowing in the mud, being low to the ground looks a lot more like this:
It's saying the greatness that we have in us isn't about us at all. It is boasting on God's greatness in us and being thankful for it! My sister said it well, "That's worth telling people about. And if I dismiss His greatness in me...I'm just displaying false humility. I'm taking away His glory."
What better way to use the voice God has given me than to declare the greatness of God I see in others? So, I've decided I want to be like Charlotte the spider. Because in the long run, that's really what she was doing - seeing the greatness of God in His creation (Wilbur) and declaring it - "terrific, radiant, humble, some pig!" What better place than to start with my own family, my children? So, on a personal note to my kids: when you start getting texts, phone calls and messages from me for the next few weeks, know that I am sincerely telling you that YOU are made in God's image, a special reflection of God's greatness and that I see the work God is doing in you, and it is GOOD!