“Always Stay Humble & Kind”: Working with Him

A short stint as a missionary in the Dominican Republic taught me many lessons that have taken years to process; it was simultaneously one of the most challenging  & rewarding experiences of my life. My first time in a third-world country, the poverty & conditions in which people lived often took my breath away & broke my heart. They also mystified me, for even if the Dominican families didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, they seemed so happy. Those I knew, & some I didn’t, welcomed me to all they had. I taught school, & was often invited to lunch at the home of my students. One seventh grade girl & her sisters lived totally on their own, with parents living in other countries where each had found reliable jobs. I remember sitting with the four sisters, all under the age of seventeen, as a drenching rain poured through the many holes in the rusting roof of their small & unfinished cement home. I wondered how they could laugh so much when they had so little. There was such a sense of peace in the home, simply because they had placed Christ at the center of the lives they lived together. It struck home that truly, this was all that was needed for a happy & fulfilling life. Writer Ann Voskamp succinctly challenges us to live likewise: “In everything surrender, & trust Jesus as center.”

There’s nothing wrong with being blessed, & yet…it is good to know that we are, in fact, blessed. We’ve been given so much more than we deserve or should expect…but our eyes are often closed to countless reminders of His love & provision all around us. The Bible includes many prayers for blessing, such as in the Psalms: “May God be gracious to us & bless us, & make His face to shine upon us.” This is what they call “top-line worship”: our prayers of petition, our acknowledgements of our reliance on God. But there is also a bottom-line: our requests that ultimately, these gifts will not only be for our good, but also for His glory. The Psalm finishes: “…that your ways may be known on the earth, your salvation among all nations.”

This prayer is an echo of the Abrahamic Covenant offered in Genesis 12:1-3:

Now the Lord said1 to Abram, “Go from your country2 and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 nAnd I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 oI will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and pin you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”3

God wants to bless us, yes…but He wants to bless us to BE a blessing. We are each equipped & gifted in unique ways…to BE a blessing. We each have our cups filled….to BE a blessing. We each are qualified to offer hope to a hurting world & step into the lives of others…to BE a blessing. As secular country singer Tim McGraw offers, we must “always be humble & kind”. His song offers many pieces of wisdom to awaken our sense of gratitude, & remind us that true fulfillment comes in pouring out that gratitude to others.

 

I know you got mountains to climb but

Always stay humble and kind

When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride but

Always stay humble and kind

Don’t expect a free ride from no one

Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why

Bitterness keeps you from flyin’

Always stay humble and kind

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you

When you get where you’re goin

Don’t forget turn back around

And help the next one in line

Always stay humble and kind

Humble & Kind

The world may call it karma, but this is really just saying what He has said all along. The “Parable of the Sowers” told in the Gospels tells us as much: you get what you give. The great thing is that although we’re called to give anytime we’ve been blessed, the reverse is also true…we’re blessed anytime that we give. Isaiah 58: 10-11 tells us that if we will spend our lives on behalf of the hungry and downtrodden, that He will make us as deeply-rooted trees, whose lives bear fruit season after season. As we are promised in God’s Word, so we are assured in the song: “It won’t be wasted time; Always stay humble and kind.”

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