If you read Psalm 131, you’ll notice it’s rather short—really short. In fact, it’s the shortest. It has only has three verses. But as one great preacher put it, this Psalm is “one of the shortest to read, but one of the longest to learn.”
The Psalm begins with these words, “My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty.” Not many of us would begin a prayer this way. It sounds odd to our ears, as if perhaps David was bragging about his humility.
We live in a culture that puts a very low value on humility. From the moment we enter the world we are urged to get ahead, to climb the ladder, to look out for number one, to win through intimidation, and often we like to prove just how high we have risen in the world by the kind of car we drive, by the home we buy, by the clothes we wear, or by the friends we keep. But this attitude can start cause life to seem a bit artificial.
But how does David describe humility? He says, “I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.” That’s like saying that there are many things in the universe that are far beyond my meager ability to understand. So I don’t worry about those things and I don’t try to figure them out.
Humility in this context simply means that you don’t run the world, you don’t have all the answers, you know your limits.
That last one is a hard one for some people—the idea that you have limits. It’s sort of a trendy to talk about unlimited potential and the untapped resources within. But the truth is, our potential is very limited and the only untapped resources are the ones we discover when we come to the end of ourselves and admit that we are limited but God is not, and that our potential is not measured by anything in this world except the sheer fact that God himself has shed His blood for you!
I had a professor who gave me some keen insight in this when I was younger and contemplating entering the ministry. I was visiting Concordia Seminary in St. Louis on a weekend retreat. After one of the presentations about seminary life, one guy stood up and explained that he felt he had so many possibilities open to him that he couldn’t decide whether he should enter the ministry. I’ll never forget Dr. Gibbs answer. He said, “That’s the curse of having too many options. The man who thinks there are fifteen things he could do with his life will probably do none of them very well. But the man who has only one option throws himself into it because that’s the only choice he has. The Lord Jesus Christ has given His life for you… don’t you think you’ll serve Him no matter what you do?”
I think those words sealed the deal for me—I knew I was destined to be a Pastor. I think David would agree, too. Happy is the man (or woman) who knows his limits and doesn’t make life so complicated. He simply serves the Lord as best he can.
A thought for meditation:
Christians are fueled by hope. Christian hope is choosing to put your confidence in God alone. It’s believing that He has answers to questions you can barely understand. It’s finding rest in your soul because you discover that we have been shown mercy—and are capable of mercy—even when we don’t think it is deserved on either account. What it is not is painted smiles and cheap platitudes that tell us to just be happy because God loves us. The celebration that we call worship on Sunday Mornings or even our weekly living by faith, Monday through Saturday, is not so much a pursuit of happiness in life as it is an abandonment of the pursuit of happiness as we come to see God as little children see their father. Hope is realizing that we don’t have to chase happiness because there is contentment in simply knowing the Lord.
Lord, during these 30 day help me see Your purpose for me. No matter, what I do with my life or with each individual day of life, I want it to be more about You than it is about me. Help me understand that. Lord direct my tongue to speak more words about You. May I boast in nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Open my lips to sing Your praise. Especially Lord, help me with…