A Toast to the Humble

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Puritan Board Senior
and considering this isn't "The Puritan Pub" - we'll make it a grape juice toast :)

When have you been encouraged, taught, rebuked, discipled, etc. by a believer's gracious living? Not necessarily by their words or teachings, or by anything in which they intend to show themselves as an example, but in just plainly living out a life a grace?

I just wanted to hear others' experiences, because in prayer tonight I was reminded of a young woman named Carla that had this impact on me many years ago, and looking back on her example, God both rebuked and greatly encouraged me. This all happened when I was a freshman in high school and she was a senior. I was quite the unregenerate at the time, but had grown up in church and "knew" the gospel.

At our cross-country practices she would always be with the girls that were slowest....and then after everybody had gone home, she would stay and run that same practice distance at a pace more fitting for her (that is, blazing fast :) ). Never once can I remember anything but a smile on her face. She was almost frustrating to talk to because she would NEVER talk about herself; she always kept her concerns and conversations centered around others.

On one race day, the course consisted of 2 huge loops. Obviously, with her being one of the fastest runners in the state, Carla actually lapped someone near the end of her second loop about a half mile before the finish line. Another girl had twisted her ankle on her first lap. Carla stopped and let the girl lean on her as they both walked in slowly. This other runner was from our school's hated rival, and Carla went from 1st to worse than 20th because of helping this girl. She didn't seem to care one bit, and no pride or showiness was evident at all - and as it's one thing I hate most, I have a pretty keen sense for it.

When someone on our girls' team would have an awful race, and singlehandedly cost the team a few places in the final standings, she would talk with the girl with a humility and respect that I found unbelievable. It was not a false, "Oh, that's ok, you'll do better next time" type thing that she's obliged to do. You could tell that there was not one ounce of bitterness or disappointment in her eyes.

As a senior, she would befriend outcast freshman girls and take them under her wing and hang out with them. I could go on and on. But the point remains, even though I only really spoke with her maybe half a dozen times personally in high school, she was perhaps the most instrumental individual in God bringing me towards the faith. There was a purity in her, a grace, a calm and quiet spirit that was more powerful than any sermon I'd heard.

She was born to filthy stinking rich parents, to put it mildly, but the clothes she wore and the car she drove made that very hard to see. Though she's able to live the rest of her life on her parents money and never work a day till she dies, she hated knowing that was even an option. It wasn't. She is now working in an assisted living facility serving the very old and very sick, and is looking for a foreign missions opportunity doing that same work. It just blows my mind that this is a girl that grew up in a 10,000 sq. foot house (including a full-time butler!), and had every fleshly desire just sitting in front of her waiting to be indulged in. Yet she very happily gave it all up for the gospel. I'm still in awe at God's work in her.

She personified gentleness, humility, and love to me. There's a reason her life was so impacting on me - I was the opposite - a bully/jock filled with pride and fleshly lusts. I was hot stuff, in my own mind. No sermon could possibly penetrate my pride....I'd heard it all. I mentally kinda agreed with the Scriptures, but I never thought "this is really real" or has any relevance to my life. I'll just "believe" it and continue being who I was, a jerk. Her quiet, humble, contented life broke down any possible wall left in my heart towards Christ. Read this statement with grace on the soteriology :), but she converted me without once preaching the gospel. I knew the gospel. She lived it. It really is that simple.

This, I suppose, can also be a great encouragement to the women on this board. I was the last person on earth that would have respected a woman's open exhortation for me to repent and believe. I was a chauvinist to the core, and too self-absorbed about my sports and academic accomplishments to listen to anyone. I didn't want anything to do with a woman that wasn't, um, "easy." Yet, God used one as the main instrument in bringing me to faith. God does indeed use the "weak" and "foolish" things of this world to shame the strong and wise.

I just wanted to share that with you all. God filled me with a special thankfulness for his grace through her tonight. So do you guys have any other examples of God sanctifying you in this way?

Soli Deo Gloria

[Edited on 3-15-2005 by smhbbag]


Puritan Board Junior
Humility is a disappearing trait. It is a difficult discipline and can cost a lot as the world sees it. I join with you in celebrating the humility that God worked in this young woman and I pray he can in some small measure do the same in me. :amen:


Puritanboard Librarian
That's a wonderful testimony, Jeremy. It reminds me of my own days as a cross-country runner. I was not among the elite runners on my team, and often felt discouraged, though I had some success, but there was one elite runner who took the time to run with the slower guys on the team and encourage us. He reminded us that we were a team, not a collection of individuals competing against each other. His inspiration was much appreciated.

Growing up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I saw a great deal of team sportsmanship on the North Carolina men's basketball team, starting with Coach Dean Smith. He always deflected the attention away from himself and towards his players, and he always honored the senior players, no matter how low on the roster, with a start in their last home game, even if that game was against Duke and crucial for the postseason. He taught his players to acknowledge the assist that made the alley-oop possible, and to prefer a mastery of the fundamentals of the game to individual glory. Rare was the freshman who was allowed to play, and rare was the undergraduate who went early to the NBA. It was all about the team. Coach Smith always spoke well of his oppenents, and taught his players to treat every opposing team with respect. I learned a lot of true sportsmanship from my observations of the Dean Smith Tar Heels. That, more than their success over the years, is why I am a Tar Heel fan, and those are the qualities I admire most in athletes today.


Puritan Board Senior
You saw that I went to NC State and had to throw in that Carolina reference, didn't ya Andrew? Although I think I can respect your reasons for loving Carolina a lot more than those that "just saw the shirt at Wal-Mart." I know far too many of those :)

I've always found it amazing how God can teach a believer and grow him in faith by the testimony of even unregenerates (not saying that's all Carolina folks, of course ;) ). That is humbling to the uttermost, when I, as a believer, see the works of an unbeliever, realizing that at some times they act more gracious or mature than I do.

by the way, I believe this makes 2 posts in 2 days for me.....meaning that, in that time, I have increased my posts per day tenfold from my previous .1 per day. You better watch out Andrew, cuz if I can keep up this exponential growth in posts/day, I'll have you beat in total posts by the end of the week!

[Edited on 3-15-2005 by smhbbag]


Puritan Board Sophomore
One of the people that impacted me by what they did and who they were, was my 4th grade Sunday School teacher - although, the impact wasn't in Sunday School. Around the time I was in 7th-8th grade, (about the time kids get into trouble left to thier own devices..including me) my Mom didn't get home until about 5pm. I got home at 3pm.
So I had 2 hours.
She lived bout 1/2 a mile form my house. I used to ride my bike to her house after school, and she took time just to chat with me. We talked about "God" things. By that time, she and her family were in the process of leaving our church (Congregational, liberal). She took time to explain to me why. Without condemning thier practices, she explained that they sought a church that was more Biblical, and whose worship was more God-centered.

Not only did she keep me out of trouble, but she took time with me in a non-judgemental way. Though I remember her words, it was what I saw behind the words... I wanted it too. And there began my own search for truth.
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