Monthly Archives: February 2010

Humility

There’s been one word that won’t escape my mind recently: humility. It’s one of those words we use a lot, but is typically left up to the interpretation of the one using it. We all have this idea of humility in our minds. We can see it being displayed and recognize it, but it’s difficult to define.

Even more difficult is recognizing that we are often not nearly as humble as we wish ourselves to be. Maybe we don’t stare at ourselves in the mirror in vain. Maybe we don’t spend our time bragging over our accomplishments. At first glance, it’s easy to come off as fairly humble, but are we really?

Some things to think on:

Do you feel the need to one up? I had a conversation recently where, no matter what I said, the guy would come back with a bigger, badder story. “Disc golf? I used to be ranked in the state!” “Baseball? I hit over .400 one time until the coach sat me down for some reason, but I was so good” “Hopscotch? National Champion in 4th grade…” O.k., kidding about the hopscotch, but there was always this tension of him wanting to one up any part of the conversation. I’m completely guilty of this sometimes. I think we just have this tendency to feel validated and so we look for ways to share our exploits. You want to make someone feel good? If they are excited about their accomplishment or something their kid did, just affirm them. Be excited for them. Don’t just look for the next opportunity to jump in with your even crazier, awesome story.

Do you compare yourself to others? Many times people think about this in physical terms. That’s certainly true. But, I’m more referring to when we verbally use other people as affirmation that we are better. Recently, it’s Pat Buchanan and Tiger Woods. If you want to score some points with the crowd you are around, just throw out a random Buchanan or Woods bashing statement. It automatically sets up this moral hierarchy where you are above them. We’re always going to talk about the news and that’s not necessarily wrong. But here’s the question. Do people’s moral failings tend to validate your own self-righteousness or do they remind you of how easily we can screw up? I think a proper response to stuff like that is worship. “God, I screw up all the time. Thank you for your love, grace, and mercy.” Humility doesn’t use others to prop itself up.

Humility is certainly not self-hatred. We can be proud of our accomplishments. We can even hold each other accountable, but I think we have more of a tendency to automatically assume we are humble rather than think about it.

Have a great Thursday.

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Are You Called?

I subscribe to a newsletter from the Daily Good. Each day, they’ll send a quote and an inspirational story. For the most part, it’s pretty good stuff. Today, the quote resonated with me.

Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.

Augustine of Hippo

Pay attention to what Augustine is saying here. We can’t help everyone. Most of us know that. We have limitations like money and time. We’d love to help, but it’s just not possible. But here’s where Augustine differs from our normal thinking.

He’s saying, we may not be able to help everyone, but there are people specifically designed for us to help. And they aren’t hidden.

They are right in front of us.

For whatever reason, we like to complicate things. We make loving others more difficult than it should be in a variety different ways. But the one I’ve been thinking about lately has been “the calling”. Normally, this calling is thought to be accompanied by a “sign” or “feeling”. I want to be careful, because I think we can be called to do certain things, but hear me out.

I’ve told this story before, but when I was in college there were many times I didn’t exactly want to go to class. I’d get in my car and brainstorm plenty of reasons why I shouldn’t go. I would go so far as to search for a sign not to go. I’d say to myself, “If I get stopped by a red light, that’s it” or “If I circle the lot twice and there’s not spots, I’m gone.” Of course, the lights would be green and there would always end up being a great spot! I’d know the right thing to do, but I would search for a reason not to do it.

Unknowingly, I think we do this same thing when it comes to laying down our lives for others. We want to have a holy heart attack when we see someone or get that really big gut feeling or have something miraculous happen to confirm that we should indeed help them. Again, I’m not saying there aren’t times people are called, but I think there should be a better way of determining to help someone lest we get our signals mixed up with indigestion.

The awareness of a need and the capacity to meet that need: This constitutes a call.

John R. Mott

There is some wisdom to what Mott says there. Obviously, we can not help everyone. However, there are needs that are placed in our lives on a daily basis that we may overlook or leave for someone else. Sometimes God calls people to be the answer to a prayer.

How intentional are you about listening for needs?

Do you find yourself waiting for that calling when maybe it’s right there in front of you?

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Filed under Challenges, Excuses, making a difference, Realizations, Serving Others, Uncategorized, Websites

Am I Really?

Is this what your life says?

In today’s world, we’re inundated with claims. If you spend any time watching t.v. or out in the world you are bound to run across a product claiming something.

50% less butter!

We’re organic!

Nutritious!

Tastes just like chicken!

As consumers, we are supposed to train ourselves in how to best evaluate these claims. Fact is, claims can be misleading. Some can be downright deceitful. It’s important for us to evaluate these claims or else you may be spending your money on a product that’s not doing what you think it’s doing.

The same goes for ourselves. We make a lot of claims, but do we ever ask if they are true?

For example, I took my son to get his haircut today. On the way back, we raced up the steps and he was ahead of me and shouted, “I’m chasing you!” Now, cut him some slack, he’s not even three yet, but do you see the problem? He’s running ahead of me shouting, “I’m chasing you!” His actions didn’t match his claim.

This past week, I read a book about Christians sharing their faith. Part of the popular Christian vernacular is to claim, “we are fishers of men.” But the book questioned this claim. In short, it asked:  If there was a people who talked about fishing, held fishing conferences, bought books about fishing, prayed about fishing, thought about fishing, and built big expensive tanks, but never fished…can you really call them fishermen?

What do you claim to be? Do you claim to be compassionate? Do you claim to be a fishermen? Do you claim to love God? Love others?

I’ve admitted numerous times, my heart is to be a servant of all. I long to serve my community. My claim is to Become Last. But so often, my life proclaims, “Me first!”

Ask yourself today: Who do I claim to be? Does my life match up to that? Would people describe me this way? Would God describe me this way?

Don’t take this as a guilt trip or depressing exercise. It’s meant to be a catalyst for change. I would hate to go through life believing I’m one thing, when in reality my life screams I’m something else. If we evaluate everything else in this world, why would we not take the time for some self-evaluation?

What do you claim to be?

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An Everyday Hero

Last night, my mom brought some Parker’s barbecue over to share with my family. While eating generous helpings of cornsticks, hushpuppies, fried chicken, potatoes, and barbecue I discovered something: mom is an everyday hero. An everyday hero is someone who gives their time, talents, and treasures to others without seeking the publicity.

For several years now, my mom has been visiting her mother in a retirement home. She would sit with her, play music for her, listen to the stories my grandmother loved to tell, and of course, bring her good food (Parker’s). My grandmother has since passed away, but my mom still makes the hour and a half long drive to visit.

It seems that her visits had not only brightened her mom’s week, but many of the other residents as well. Unlike her son, my mom is an extremely talented pianist. She inherited that from her mother. She’s played in churches, in schools, and in plays. Now, she plays to an enthralled audience who quickly gathers, knowing that her arrival means a sing-a-long is on the horizon.

Listening to my mom share fascinated me. She cared about these people. She doesn’t just go play her favorite songs. She listens to their stories and she’ll find sheet music to learn the songs the residents love. Most of them request 1920’s songs mixed in with songs such as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” or “How Much is That Doggy in the Window.”

As they listen and sing  along, the residents are taken back to another time and another place. I can only imagine the wellspring of memories the songs must provoke. First cars, first loves, war, peace, the Great Depression, children, and grandchildren. For the few hours they listen to the piano sing, they are young again.

It would be easy to forget about them. With the passing of my grandmother, my mom could have stopped the music. But she knows how much it means to them. She sees the sparkle in their eyes as she looks around the room. These are the people who paved the way for us and she honors them with her time and music. I’m glad their are people like my mom who show them they aren’t forgotten, that they still matter. She’ll never be featured on CNN or given an award for what she does, but I know there is a roomful of seniors counting down the days until her sweet songs fill the room again.

Do you know an everyday hero? I’d love to share their story! Just email me: becominglast@hotmail.com

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, making a difference, Serving Others, Uncategorized, volunteer

Why I’ve Been Gone

This has been my longest days between posts since the blog started. Sorry about that. From now on, there shouldn’t be more than 2 days between posts. Here’s the reason for my delay!

Would you really want to blog when you could be holding him???

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