Proverbs 18:21 NRSV
Before destruction one’s heart is haughty,
but humility goes before honor.
Though my mom did a lot of amazing things in her life, she was basically unknown in a world filled with the famous and well-known. She never aspired to be an actress and yet she had a leading role in a movie starring a former Miss America; she also revised her role as Mary, the mother of Jesus in many churches. She never aspired to be a speaker, and yet she had her own radio show and appeared on television a number of times. She didn’t know how to write out music and yet she had three children’s musical published. If you were to meet her, you would think her charming but thoroughly ordinary. She was first and foremost a wife, mother, and homemaker. She sewed most of her own clothes, decorated her house with thrift store and yard sale finds, cooked almost every meal (burning her share of peas and corn), and lived humbly, never seeking fame or fortune.
And at her memorial service, over 500 people attended . . . to bring honor to the woman who spent her life serving those around her.
The comparison in this proverb is haughtiness and humility. Haughtiness (pride) is self-seeking, self-protective, self-concerned. Humility gently accepts whatever the Lord sends, trusting Him to take care and provide. The Lord’s prayer says “Give us this day our daily bread.” One simple line about provision . . . and yet infinitely profound. As manna was provided on a daily basis, the Lord provides our need on a daily basis. For today. The Lord Jesus commanded us not to concern ourselves about anything further than today: “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). His provision is for today, this time, this hour.
If often think, as I stew about what I will do about the future, that all my worrying would be unnecessary should the Lord take me Home tonight! How much time I would have spent needlessly when I could have, instead, spent that time and effort on ministering to those around me, those whom the Lord placed in my path. Would I have smiled at that one and cheered her day? Would I have stopped to help that one and lightened his load? Would I have reached out and given generously, rather than hoarding for an unknown and uncertain future?
I believe that the difference between haughtiness and humility is ultimately perspective. The person who is haughty believes that her thoughts, resources, and time must first consider her own needs and concerns. The person who is humble thinks only of others and trusts God to take care of her. Haughtiness brings ultimate destruction; humility brings honor. Are we willing to risk and trust God that His Word is true?