|photo courtesy of snowbear – morguefile.com|
When I learned this morning that a photo I had taken of several special needs dogs in my ministry’s care had “gone viral” on the Internet (the first time I have ever experienced something like this, mind you), some might say I should have been thrilled. I was everything but. The photo was taken and used without my permission, no attribution was used, there was no link to my ministry’s website, and all I could think of was how wrong it was that I wouldn’t get credit and that zillions of people would see the photo without ever learning of my ministry. Little did I know God had called the waiter aside and decided to send me as a surprise one of the thickest pieces of humble pie I have received in quite a while. How so?
As I mowed the yard a few hours later in the steaming hot late May South Carolina sunshine, shoving the self-propelled mower forward with my anger over several different matters, the viral photo one included, the Lord decided it would be a prime time for me to dig into my humble pie. How? He showed me my heart. Pride. Self-righteousness. A little bitterness. A few thoughts of payback, otherwise known as vengeance. Wanting attention. Self pity over how hard I work without credit. Self pity over how everyone else gets attention except me. And the list goes on. Then He shoved a few bite-fulls of my humble pie into my mouth at once and reminded me why I am in full-time ministry. Not for the praises of man, but for the glory of the Lord. Fortunately, I chose not to spit out my bitter humble pie. I swallowed it all down. Not because it tasted, and felt, good to realize the utter mess of junk I had allowed back into my heart, but because believe it or not I was grateful for the humble pie God had given me. But why?
Because when God shows me junk I have allowed in my heart, I now know what to do with it. Repent. Rid myself of it. Purge it from me. Purify my heart. What I saw in my heart was the old me, and I know that the follower of Jesus I have become must not live with a heart full of what can only be called wickedness. God wants me thinking about Him and meditating on His Word, not bowing down to thoughts that will only lead me away from Him and into actions I do not desire to take. I suppose this is what I get for asking God to help me to be humble as He calls us all to be. A thick slice of humble pie.
Sometime amid my mowing, I decided to pray for the person who used the photo without permission or attribution, and for all the people that will see it. My prayer for them is not that they will give me credit, but that they will be drawn to the Lord. Oh, how my heart has changed. Oh, how my life has changed. It wasn’t so long ago a thick slice of humble pie would have resulted in my screaming at the waiter to get that dish off the table and bring something sweet to eat. But alas, I have come to find that the Lord loves me so much He doesn’t want to leave me in my mess where I would only be useless and incapable of loving Him with all my heart and my neighbor as myself.
When I look back on today’s mighty thick slice of humble pie, I realize how truly blessed I am. That old, yucky feeling of wanting attention, of wanting vengeance, of seeking for myself rather than living for God, it just doesn’t fit anymore. For I would rather get to the end of my life and know that I have humbly loved and served the Lord and brought glory to His name and helped build His Kingdom by sharing the Gospel as I ministered the Lord’s love to a world in need than to have had all the attention in the world. The things of this world anyway are only temporal. The one I live for today is forever. I can only hope that when I meet Him in heaven that I can sit down with a big dish of something other than humble pie. Blueberry pie anyone?
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time… 1 Peter 5:6 NASB
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 NASB
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9 NASB
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 NASB