When we think about humility, what comes to mind? Whatever comes to your mind, I would like to provide you with an image you may not immediately think of when it comes to humility. That is of hobbits from the Lord of the Rings. If you have seen the movies I’m sure you know who they are, but if not they are small people who look like humans, but live pretty simple lives and don’t go out and do much. They live in underground homes, they usually live off the land, and everyone seems to know everyone. At the same time they don’t like adventure, war, great conquests, and other things. However, in the Lord of the Rings, and as well the Hobbit, they become a central figure and the most important aspect of the history of middle earth.
What is humility and, why do hobbits do such a good job of portraying it? For me, humility is about recognizing who we truly are not so much as the world sees us but rather as God sees us. On the one hand we are not that much at least in the eyes of God. We are simple lowly people who without God’s help won’t amount to much of anything. At the same time we should recognize that God created us in his image and likeness, and he has given us divine favor.
Jesus gives us a parable of humility and what it looks like for him. He explains that when we go to a wedding feast, we shouldn’t take the highest seat because we will likely be embarrassed and asked to take a lower seat. However, if we take the lowest seat, we will likely be asked to move up to a higher seat. Jesus isn’t just providing instructions for what to do in a social occasion but rather a way to live our lives.
The problem with pride is there is always someone who will be higher than us, more talented and gifted than us. If we try and find fulfillment in being the best compared to everyone else, we will likely fall short. However if we seek the lowest place, if we accept who we are and realize that in many ways we are less than others, God will exalt us in this life and the life to come.
Hobbits in the Lord of the Rings are a good example of humility. Again because they don’t seek to have this high recognition in life and at the same time, they realize that they are simple creatures who don’t amount to much. They don’t go on great adventures; they don’t seek to have great power they go about living their simple lives. But again from the help of others they are exalted.
If you pay attention to the story, you will notice that a lot of what the hobbits can do is because they are willing to accept the help of their friends, and at the same time they get the help from the outside too. They do eventually break out and go on their own. But because of their littleness, their small stature they aren’t discovered till it’s too late for the enemy.
In our own lives, we need to be little and humble and realize at the same time we have the help of God and the help of others to improve in this life. It can be tempting to say to ourselves; “I got this myself, and I don’t need to help of other people.” However I find that when we accept our weakness and our littleness, we are willing to reach out and receive help from others when we are humble when we recognize our littleness than it is through the help of others that we will be exalted.
So how in this life can we be humble? How can we be like the hobbits from Lord of the Rings? More importantly how can we be like our Lord who is the greatest example of humility? First, we can accept our littleness and our limitations in this life. All of us face weaknesses, things we are not good at, and accepting them is a great sign of humility. Second we too can recognize that our gifts from God. We come to know that it is truly God who gives us the gifts that we have and being grateful to him for the gifts that we have. Finally we can realize that we are all equal in God’s eyes. Jesus tells the host to invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind to the party instead of the rich, the family those who can pay you back. Jesus wants us to realize that in his eyes the poor, the lame, those who we think as less than us are just as valuable to him as we are to him. It takes a great deal of humility to see others in this way but, this is our challenge.
As we continue our journey’s with the Lord may we seek to be humble in the way we live our lives. Seeing ourselves as weak and in need of God’s assistance but too recognizing that we have received gifts from the Lord to help us in this life. May we be like the Lord in his humility as we continue to seek him in our lives.
Photo Credit: Gudellaphoto – stock.adobe.com