The previous post in this series is found here
We live in a culture which treasures status and formal education. Even though of us who think ourselves immune to such things automatically consider one’s wealth, status & education to make one a more valuable human being. Today I read a story about a man who died in a freak accident in Manhattan. The story referred to the man who died as “Harvard graduate, Mr. X”, as if the death were more tragic because it befell a graduate of Harvard.
The instances could be multiplied indefinitely — it is the basis of our culture.
We could supply instances of celebrity pastors who somehow more importance not because of the clarity of their thought, their piety, their actual knowledge of the thing before (do we seriously think that Mr. Y is The Master of all these topics? And often, if the true be told, their “mastery” is more show than substance).
The death of people in a rich neighborhood demands hours of time on television news. The death of a man person may be included in a total, 4 were murdered this weekend.
This brings us to the humble man: Brooks shows that the actual metric of humility lies in what is not seen. The humble man does not ignore merit; it is just that the metric for merit lies the scales of God:
The sixteenth property of an humble soul is this, An humble soul, though he be of never so rare abilities, yet he will not disdain to be taught what he knows not, by the meanest persons, Isa. 11:6. A child shall lead the humble soul in the way that is good; he cares not how mean and contemptible the person is, if a guide or an instructor to him.
Thomas Brooks, “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ”, The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 3 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 23.
Humility ignores human merit and looks through the veil of flesh to see the work of God. if God has taught the simplest woman a truth, the humble man will learn from her and ignore the doctor’s erudition:
As an humble soul knows that the stars have their situation in heaven, though sometimes he sees them by their reflection in a puddle, in the bottom of a well, or in a stinking ditch; so he knows that godly souls, though never so poor, low, and contemptible, as to the things of this world, are fixed in heaven, in the region above; and therefore their poverty and meanness is no bar to hinder him from learning of them, Eph. 2:6.
Finally, it is humility that has been mark of many Christians — including Christ:
Though John was poor in the world, yet many humble souls did not disdain, but rejoice in his ministry. Christ lived poor and died poor, Mat. 8:20. As he was born in another man’s house, so he was buried in another man’s tomb. Austin observes, when Christ died he made no will; he had no crown-lands, only his coat was left, and that the soldiers parted among them; and yet those that were meek and lowly in heart counted it their heaven, their happiness, to be taught and instructed by him.