Monday, June 3, 2013

Humility and Gratitude: Multitude Monday

Hello Friends and Happy Monday.

Twice I've written on humility this week: here and here. Today I'd like to explore the connection between gratitude and humility. Which begats which, do you suppose? Do I learn humility as I give thanks, or do I give thanks because I'm humble?

Wearing humility and thankfulness are not an option--not just an ideal. We're commanded in scripture to be both humble and thankful.

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done" 1 Chron. 16:8.

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5

Peter teaches that humility is something we put on, like our clothes for the day or our deoderant. It's not an easy garment to put on, but we must practice: we must wear it and walk in it.

But how? The short answer is that we do it through prayer, but there's a longer answer too. There's a fundamental truth we must grasp before we can put on humility and take off pride:

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

Our daily bread, shelter, clothes, family, jobs, gifts, friends, joy, peace, spiritual growth, and comfort. All of it is gift...undeserved gift.

Romans 11:33–36
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

It's when I grasp this concept that without God I am nothing and have nothing, that I begin to see everything as gift. I understand that I am completely dependent on God. He is the Almighty Living God and I am the created being. He is sovereign and all powerful; I am powerless and incapable of generating good outside of God's Holy Spirit.

This understanding of our position before God is crucial. We are beggars.

A beggar is thankful because he knows that without the handout, he starves. A beggar is humble because he has nothing; he has no source of pride. In fact, to be prideful--to quit begging to uphold some image--would mean sure starvation. A beggar can't afford pride.

From an early age we're conditioned to say thank you for birthday gifts. Not everything from God comes with birthday wrapping, but it's just as much a gift. When I begin to see these gifts--instead of feel entitled to them or take them for granted--I am thankful. My God is an awesome God! Without Him I am nothing. He's generous and loving. He sustains me. I praise You and thank you, Oh God!

Does a thankful person become humble, or does a humble person give thanks?

Yes and yes. A beggar is clothed in humility and gratitude. Both these graces are given to the beggar simultaneously by an Almighty God who loves to be glorified.

If God didn't love His own glory so much, He'd let us succeed in our own strength. But in fact we were created and saved to bring Him glory...not for our own pleasure. We are loved with an inexplicable, sacrificial love, and as that love transforms us, God receives His due glory. And we? We develop a love so deep, so all-consuming for Him, that we grow to delight in His glory.

A person who assumes a beggar's pose is one who fully understands; I am here for God's purposes and I get everything from Him.

When we come before the Lord begging for these graces, we are in fact praying. Our best prayer sessions with the Lord come when we are desperate, in full surrender, knowing we cannot generate what we need. Our hands are out-stretched. Our hunger is profound; we are humbled by dire need.

When in His infinite love He satisfies us, we're overcome with gratitude.

For from him and through him and to him are all things. 

 "When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, ‘He is good; His love endures forever’" (2 Chron. 7:3).

Giving Thanks Today

Dear Lord, thank you for these graces and blessings:

~ 3 bird nests in the yard

~ little girls cuddled against me, enjoying good books

~ a steadfast husband

~ more rain

~ squash coming up

~ a son who loves cultivating the ground, making beauty from dirt

~ a prolific strawberry patch in the backyard, delighting my snacking children

~ half-day summer school here at home

~ library programs

~ good friends

~ my Heavenly Father, who continues his good work in my heart in spite of  me

~ lessons on humility

~ the power of God's Word

~ my family extending everyday grace toward an imperfect mother, wife, and homemaker

~ church dresses from the thift store for my girls, all at the bargain price of the day, and flawless

~ a loving church family

~ far fewer headaches

~ time with my children every day

~ the bonding gift of the family read aloud 

~ a son who once hated math, saying he's good at it and he likes it

~ a boy who likes to write stories and has a way with words

~ a snapping turtle to observe

~ a large yard

~ a strong desire to put on humility

~ the blessings bestowed on the one who dares to beg God for daily bread and blessing, knowing that outside the Lord's handouts, there is no sustenance

What's blessing you today, my friend?



innerhomestead said...

Beautiful gratitude list filled with grace and humility. I especially like 1 Peter 5:5...good reminder that humility takes constant practice. This post inspires me!


Christine said...

Judy, thank you for visiting here today. I love the Peter scripture as well! You are a gracious lady! Have a wonderful day!

Sarah said...

Oh how I love being splashed in God's Word. Thank you beyond words.

Delighted to meet you today. I hope you don't mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing place to dip onto goodness.


Christine said...

Sarah, I've been reading your blog. Lovely work you do, and thank you for visiting here.