One of Winston Churchill’s most famous and funny quips concerned his political opponent Clement Attlee. Apparently interrupting a Churchill rant, a friend said, ‘But surely, Mr. Churchill, you admit that Mr. Attlee is a humble man?’ To which Churchill replied, ‘He is a humble man, but then he has much to be humble about!’
Churchill himself was, of course, criticised many times for his over confidence!
To dwell on the quality of humility is good for the soul.
Jonathan Edwards, in his careful style, does just that in his sermons on 1 Corinthians 13. The sermons were collected together and published as ‘Charity and its Fruits’. Here are a few quotes that go right to the heart of the matter.
‘As you have not made yourself, so you were not made for yourself.’ (Charity and its Fruits, Banner of Truth, p.181)
‘Humility tends also to prevent an arrogant and assuming behaviour. He that is under the influence of an humble spirit…when he is amongst others…does not carry it toward them as if he expected and insisted that a great deal of regard should be shown to himself.
His behaviour does not carry with it the idea that he is the best amongst those about him, and that he is the one to whom the chief regard should be shown, and whose judgment is most to be sought and followed.’ (p.139-140)
[Those who are humble] ‘are not found treating with scorn and contempt what others say, or speaking of what they do with ridicule and sneering reflections, or sitting and relating what others may have spoken or done, only to make sport of it.’ (p. 141)
‘If you are selfish, and make yourself and your own private interests your idol, God will leave you to yourself, and let you promote your own interests as well as you can.
But if you do not selfishly seek your own, but do seek the things that are Jesus Christ’s, and the things of your fellow-beings, then God will make your interest and happiness his own charge, and he is infinitely more able to provide for and promote it than you are.’ (p.184)
More next time…