I was in a grocery store a while back and encountered two different people that each had an impact on my time, my emotions, and my attitude. I was not expecting the reaction I had but it influenced me nonetheless. The first encounter was in the produce department where I was looking for sweet potatoes. Unfamiliar with particular store, I asked a busy worker, stacking the apples with precise and quick moves and a serious look on his face. “Excuse me,” I said followed by “sorry to bother you…” and made my appeal to find the sweet potatoes. Thinking he would stop for a moment and direct me, he kept on stacking with what seemed to be even more determination and not acknowledging my question. I leaned in to get eye contact and repeated my question…He looked right at me and said very curtly, “can’t you see I am busy,” and pointing to his name bag said, “I am the assistant manager, go ask one of the clerks, or just look around…” I didn’t hear much else being he turned back to his apple stacking.
A little shocked and wanting to leave the store, I located the sweet potatoes and found myself feeling bad and mad and belittled and frustrated. Now I know I choose my feeling, but this guy’s arrogant comments opened the door of a crummy attitude and I walked right it. I even think I visibly showed some frustration to an older gentleman trying tear off one of those plastic produce bags on those big rolls where you can’t find the end. I was tapping my foot, letting out a few not-so-quiet signs and finally got a bag from another place and handed it to the guy.
Still simmering with the effects of my pride-steeped encounters a guy sweeping the floors, stopped looked at me with a big smile and said, “How are you sir, on this beautiful day?” and said, “What else could I can help you find?” I was a little afraid to ask, but his warm smile and attentiveness won me over and asked where this special ice cream was and asked me to follow him. We started to chat about the weather and something in the news, and how great this ice cream was.
As I walked away something had changed again in me and I felt different, I felt better; kind of joyful, encouraged, satisfied, and I was even smiling. Now, yes again I choose how I feel, but this pleasant, humble worker opened the door and I walked right in. I was back to my normal self, chatted it up with the cashier, the person bagging the groceries, and even held the door of the older gentleman that was struggling back in produce.
As I got to my car a flood of Bible verses came to mind…
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited.
Humility is a key quality in life because humility is key element of God’s story. Read sometime the greater context of the passage from Philippians above, Philippians 2:1-11 and see the humility of Jesus. The flip side of humility is pride and pride is nasty stuff.
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.
CS Lewis has said that the utmost evil, is pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through pride that the devil became the devil: pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind…it is pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Simon & Schuster Touchstone edition, 1996), 109, 11)
Wow seeing how both pride and humility had an impact me I want to make sure I am contributing to impact of humility. How about you?
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Seeking to foster the impact of a humble story with you,