Excellence and/or Humility ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Can anyone find either?

The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; And before honor is humility. Proverbs 15:33Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility. Proverbs 18:12 

            Very well, someone mentioned humility and another mentioned C.S. Lewis. In this devotional discussion why don’t we combine the two. Turning our attention to the above Scriptures penned by God via Solomon in the book of wisdom, known as Proverbs. While at the same time looking at a characteristic often viewed incorrectly as pride, a characteristic worthy of emulation, ‘excellence,’ is the trait of which I write. 

            We see clearly from the Scriptures above that we as a people are to honor God, and God’s creation, ourselves, by clothing ourselves in humility. Yet, what does humility look like? Does it deface who we are? Does it never use the gifts and talents which the Creator instilled to perform in a worthy and excellent manner? Is it good at things? Of course, humility and a person with humility are good at certain things; all things, no, some things, yes. You will find some of the greatest talent and ability among the humble. Humility does not deny God given talent and abilities. It simple does not focus on them. Humility understands its responsibility to use the gift and talents God gave, to better the lives of others and bring glory to God. Humility knows it does not have the right to run down or deface the Creators creation, themselves. God created you; how dare you think you have a right to talk about or act in a manner that lessens the wonder and majesty of God’s creation! False modesty is not humility. Humility rarely must be advertised. Humility says inside, “I know who God made me to be, I know who I am, and unless it serves another, there is no reason to advertise or deny, who I am.” There is a responsibility to God to perform our lives in honor of His creation, by acting with excellence.  

            Again, let’s turn to an example from C.S. Lewis’ writings titled “The Screwtape Letter.” [Please refer to the earlier devotional for more information on The Screwtape Letters.] In one letter he writes about what it means to have humility. In another the importance of excellence. We will look at both.  

            Where humility is concerns Lewis reflects on the response of an individual with immense talent and ability. His belief being God would have this person’s mindset be such that they could create the greatest cathedral in the world, know it is the best, and rejoice in the fact that it is the most wondrous of all cathedrals; without being any more or less glad that he created it than he would be if someone else had created the cathedral. This individual rejoices just as much in his talents, as he would in the talents of his neighbor; realizing that all creatures, even he, are glorious and excellent things. This is a tall order by far; yet, one to aspire too. To enjoy the talents and abilities of all, ourselves included, equally; — clearly, leaving no room for false humility or pride.  

            Lewis clearly believed in the need for excellence from people and for that excellence to be recognized as such. He refers to how “Democracy” of old, also known as dictators and tyrants, spent much of their time attempting to rid their societies of those individuals whom displayed human excellence. Whether it is moral, social, cultural, or intellectual excellence. The goal being for all people to be the same, equal, ciphers, —- all nobodies. Reread that carefully and think about it before you let your mind draw a conclusion. God created all human beings as equal in His eyes, as we should have equal value in one another’s eyes. While at the same time understanding and recognizing, that you are better at some things than I am, you excel where I fail, and I where you come up short – – – yet, this does not change the value of either one of us. If a young woman has spent most of her life practicing the piano and is able to perform as one of the greatest concert pianist of all time; whom am I to minimize this woman’s talent, the effort she puts forth, and the investment she has made; because I chose to say, “I do not want to” when lessons were offered to me as a child. In a ‘feel good no matter what’ society, we have not done ourselves a service by removing the realization of and need for, excellence from people.  

No wonder we have such an emotionally handicapped society – – – we failed to teach the need for both humility and excellence. Therefore, we are now living with the result of ‘your okay I’m okay’ – – – whether we are or not.


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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. YOur conclusion is a starkling statement which we all need to Introspect. Thanks for sharing

  2. […] found this blog entry on WordPress about humility and excellence.  I’m copying a large portion in here because […]

  3. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  4. It is wonderful that in the Christian Spirit we can agree to disagree.

    Devotional Discussions Writer

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