3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12)
There’s a story about a woman who went for her first visit to a new dentist’s office, and as she was sitting in the waiting room, she absent-mindedly examined the dentist’s diplomas. As she took a moment to think about her new dentist’s name, a rush of memories came flooding back. She recalled that a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with that very name had been in her class at high school. She couldn’t help but wonder if this could be the same guy. But once she’d been let into the back and placed in a chair, and once her teeth had been cleaned and the dentist was summoned, she found herself face to face with a balding, gray-haired man whose face was lined with wrinkles. The woman thought to herself, “This couldn’t be him.” Still, the feeling that she knew him never left her, and toward the end of her appointment she finally asked, “Did you by any chance go to Morgan Park High School?” At this the man’s face brightened up and he exclaimed, “I sure did! Home of the Mustangs! Class of ’78!”
“I thought so,” replied the woman, “You were in my class!”
To which the dentist replied, “Really? What subject did you teach?”
Sometimes we seek to be humble. But often we have humility thrust upon us. That’s because most of us tend to do the opposite of what Paul instructs above. That sober judgment that he’s talking about is much more sobering when it comes from someone else.
But it’s not always a bad thing to be “put in our place.” It’s usually painful to one degree or another, but it does have its benefits. Whether we seek it or not, when humility comes, it helps us regain some perspective of ourselves.
This Sunday, we’ll be reminded that God wants us to maintain a certain perspective. He wants us to walk with Him in a way that helps us remember who we are and who He is. He wants us to walk humbly with him. It’s not always easy, but it brings a certain freedom and peace—the peace of remembering that God is God and we don’t have to be.