A Lesson in Humility

$3.48. That was the cost of my humility lesson yesterday.

I met with a young woman who will be working with MBolden Ministry this summer at a Coffee House. When we got there she said, I have a coupon for a free drink. Mindlessly, I let her pay for her own coffee. Afterwards I apologized, “I’m sorry, I should have gotten that for you. You could have used your free drink later.”

Then I placed my order. As I went to pay, I realized I had left my credit cards and money in my husband’s truck. I was so embarrassed. I apologized and asked the cashier to cancel my order.

I was embarrassed this had happened in front of the young woman. What must she think of me? Irresponsible? Cheap?

What about the cashier? What did she think of me? Scammer? Poor?

The young woman and I sat down and began our conversation. A few minutes later the cashier brought over my young friend’s coffee along with my order. The cashier simply said, “I brought your order as well.”

Now, I was more embarrassed than ever. I protested, “Oh no, I can’t let you do that. You didn’t need to do that. I can’t accept that.” She smiled and walked away, as I finally said, “Thank you so much.”

I had to ask myself some hard questions:
Why was I so embarrassed?
Why was it so hard to accept this young stranger’s generosity?

In a word: Pride

I was embarrassed because I was concerned about what others thought of me. I didn’t want anyone to think I couldn’t afford $3.48. I did not want to be perceived as “needy”. But we are all needy in one way or the other.

What if I truly couldn’t afford $3.48. What if my card had been declined instead of forgotten? Would that have made me “less than”? Would that have made me a horrible person? Of course not.

So why did it bother me? I was concerned about what people thought of me and that, my friend, is PRIDE!

In God’s kingdom we must learn to be both extravagant givers AND humble receivers.

Earlier that morning, I delivered produce to an organization that feed people who are struggling. I was greeted with a hero’s welcome. It was what they needed at the right moment! I left feeling like a hero.

Now, the table was turned. I needed to allow someone to be my hero. Who knows, that cashier had to sow a seed in me, because God had a bigger blessing in store for her.

Lessons learned:
1. Don’t be embarrassed about being in need. We have all been there. It doesn’t change your value, your worth, or your calling.
2. Be a humble receiver. Allow others to sow into you. Everyone needs to feel like a hero sometime.

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”” James 4:6