“Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.”
Grandpa’s farmer hands, holding an old knife, slicing the thin skin of the potato. The blade gliding toward him and ending at his thumb.
I used to watch him peel while he told me stories of working on the radios in the Korean War. He also told me stories of peeling potatoes. I don’t know how a radio tech got tasked to peel potatoes. And I wish I could call him up and ask.
I won’t ever forget the picture he painted in my mind—one pairing knife and bags and bags and bags of potatoes, piled high to peel.
Peeling potatoes is a humble job. Doesn’t require much brains or brawn. But it does require patience (which is often much harder to come by than the latter).
One of my sweetest friends, Erika, came over this week. Our kids play. We giggle. Since I’m still on modified bedrest, she tells me to lay on the couch and takes care of the mound of dirty dishes. She asks if she can cook dinner for our family. Soon, she’s scrubbing away and peeling potatoes.
With every slice of the blade, I grow more and more thankful for her servant’s heart and her friendship.
I like to watch her peel potatoes. I liked watching grandpa too. There’s such beauty and rest in their humility. The slow grace of the blade.
To be trained and capable of so much more, and yet, they both found joy in taking up a lowly task.
It’s a picture of Christ. The King come down, disrobed, and wraps around the towel of a servant. The Anointed One down, on his knees, to wash our dirty feet.
I find myself constantly nagged by the sense that pride lurks around in me. I hate my pride. And still, when I come to the Lord to ask for humility, my whole flesh wants to revolt against me. Like just the thought of praying for humility is like the thought of rain to the wicked witch. “I’m melting! I’m melting!”
But isn’t that the first step of the believer? To say, I am nothing; Christ is all. If I’m a disciple, that means I’m learning to be like Christ. He gave up everything, His very will and life. Why should I think I ought to give up anything less?
Check this out. Andrew Murray in a small, powerful book, Humility: The Beauty of Holiness, writes that Christ’s humility is our salvation (pg 13). Unlike my gut reaction to humility, Murray talks about humility as a desirable thing of beauty:
“This life… of absolute submission and dependence upon the Father’s will, Christ found to be one of perfect peace and joy.
He lost nothing by giving all to God.
God honored His trust, and did all for Him, and then exalted Him to His own right hand in Glory.
And because Christ had humbled Himself before God, …He found it possible to humble Himself before men too and be the Servant of all.
His humility was simply surrender of Himself to God, to allow Him to do in Him what He pleased, no matter what men around Him might say of Him or do to Him (27).”
He speaks of seeking out the humility of Christ as our “chief joy”, as “a heavenly blessedness.”
I’m not there yet. But I want to be. Murray has got to be right. Maybe my lack of understanding Christ’s meek and lowly state is why I feel like there’s so much Him that I just don’t get.
Prayer (This prayer is a paraphrase of Murray’s words, pages 22-23):
Father, help me honestly pause and realize the lack of humility within and around me. I’m called by the Name of the meek and lowly Lamb of God. Let me reflect that. I really want to know you, Jesus. And this is a huge part of who you are. Give me a divine curiosity as to what would happen if I were truly guided by your humility. Help me not to be afraid to ask for humility. Help me trust You. May my longing be “Oh, for the humility of Jesus in myself and all around me!” I want to truly believe that I lose nothing by giving you everything. I feel the growing pains in this prayer, Lord. Help me out. Impart Your humility. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.