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Posts Tagged ‘humble’

As the school year is coming to a rapid end, those of us who work in schools tend to become reflective about the year that has past. We wonder if we taught everything that the students needed to learn. We wonder if the students learned everything that they will need to succeed.

Earlier this past week I was speaking with a young man who is graduating from high school. I have never been assigned to work with him, I have never assisted him in a classroom setting, in no way have I ever been responsible for any part of his education. In spite of the fact that there is no direct connection to him, I have gotten to know him a bit by saying hi and connecting in the hallways.

This young man has not been successful in an academic sense. He was not a ‘good’ student. I would guess that he did not have the best handwriting in elementary school, the best understanding of algebra in middle school, or the best essay writing skills in high school.

From what I have learned, over the years, from talking to him, from watching him, and from hearing about him from others, I believe he will be immensely successful in life … and it has little to do with schooling.

This young man is kind … I have seen how he treats others.

This young man is hard working … I have seen his acts of service in the school.

This young man is responsible … when asked to do a task, he shows up, and does it.

This young man is humble … he does not do things for praise.

He is the young man who will grow up contributing to society.

He is the young man who will grow up caring for his parents.

He is the young man who will grow up supporting and loving his family.

He is the young man who you would want for a neighbor.

He is the young man who knows that he has nothing in this life without working hard, being responsible and being faithful to his commitments.

He is the successful result of parents who loved him and who modeled a life well lived. His success is the result of having the benefit of being able to participate in a program at school that allowed him to earn a portion of his credits by doing the manual labor he so loves (and is probably amazing at). He is the successful result of an inner strength of character that kept him going to school, just because it is a hoop we all need to do to be part of our society.

I wish I had had the opportunity to work with this model young man … I bet he could have taught me something!

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For about a week or more I have been stalked, but not by a vicious serial killer. I have been stalked by a word, the word mercy.

It has been everywhere; in the songs I’ve heard, in the messages shared, in the verses I have read. Mercy has been quietly creeping up in my life, subtly (or maybe not so subtly) forcing my awareness of it’s presence in my life. Communicating to me that I need to pay attention to whatever message it has for me.

Generally mercy means that one who deserves punishment is given the gift of not receiving that punishment. This freedom is unmerited, undeserved, and it is freely (not forcefully) given. It is an action on the part of the merciful, not a feeling or emotion.

When one asks of mercy from another, they ask knowing that they do not deserve it, but also knowing that the one they ask is fully able to give it, fully. When one gives mercy, they do so not out of ‘feeling’ sad, or compassion for the other, but they grant mercy because it is what is asked of them. The act of requesting mercy is a humble one, the act of giving mercy is an equally humbling one.

In the Psalms David cried to God for mercy over and over again:

“Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer” (Psalm 4:1)

Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony” (Psalm 6:2)

“I said, “Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you” (Psalm 41:4)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1)

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” (Psalm 57:1)

have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long” (Psalm 86:3)

“Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name” (Psalm 119:132)

I am not exactly sure why it is that mercy has been stalking me. Usually when a message is delivered to me in this way my reception of the message comes when I already know why it has come, or it comes as I become aware of the lesson I need to learn, or the message I need to learn. I am not sure whether this message of mercy is to prompt me to be merciful or if I might be the one crying for mercy from another.

Whatever the case, even as odd as it seems, I know where this message has come from, and I know that this messenger is always trustworthy and timely. So, here I sit unwrapping this gift, and holding it close for the day the I will need to make use of it.

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My advice:
If you just clicked on this and have no time to read, just scroll down to the bottom, and watch the video … it is just that good!

It had been so long, so very long, since it had happened, since I had even thought those thoughts, and yet, out of the blue there it was again, as if no time had passed.

I had thought that I had turned my back on the past and that it would stay there … but here it was, and I was feeling all that I had felt before.

As I sat in the driver seat of my vehicle, I felt like anything but the driver. I put my head back closed my eyes and moaned, “why does this keep haunting me? when will it go away?”

The ‘it’ was sin. A sin of the past, one that I had acknowledged, repented of, and was forgiven. Yet, here it was again stalking me like some deranged killer, eager to snuff the life from me.

I wondered if this struggle was like the “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7) that Paul had experienced. He referred to it as “a messenger of Satan to torment me” that helped to keep him humble. Well, I am not sure if my sin of the past is keeping me humble, but it certainly drives me to my knees!

For a week or more the guilt of this sin was haunting me. It was there when I went to bed, and when I work up. It was everywhere, and all the time. I was easily able to relate to Romans 7:21-24 “although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man/woman I am!” I just wanted it to go away!

And then, while driving in my van a couple of weeks later, as so often is the case, the voice of Truth spoke to me, loud and clear. It was through a song I had not heard (or had not needed to hear) before, but the message I received from it, I believe, answered my cry, “who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).

It answers the cry of all of our hearts!

Redeemed
“to restore the honor, worth, or reputation of”
American Heritage Dictionary

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