The True Need for Humility

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A Miracle of Herod’s Time and the Aqueducts

EVERYONE WHO EXALTS HIMSELF WILL BE HUMBLED,

EVERYONE WHO HUMBLES HIMSELF WILL BE EXALTED

Luke tells us in chapter 14:11 the above words when he discussed “The Conduct of Invited Guests and Hosts.” I wondered to myself when, and how I learned these very valuable words of life as I grew from child to teen as might we all have at some time in our lives.

We all love a pat on the back for doing something well, so here is probably where my mind and heart first experienced exaltation, but my youth seemed to have  had more need to be humbled than exhilarated.  “The-You-Are-Not-Supposed-To Do-That’s,” always seemed to be in my way. And, then the other deterrents to my main goal PLAY… school, study, chores, and punishments…surfaced. And, get in the way they did until I graduated into high school.

After finishing grammar school we spent the summer vacation in France in a small town called La Ciota, about 15 miles west of Marseilles.  Today we would call the place we spent most of our summer a “Pension” and it was here that I filled-in my ability to speak French. All of my playmates were kids who lived around the pension, so, played I did to my heart’s content. Dad wanted me to attend high school in Paris, and mom said: “Absolutely not!.”

When we returned to Cleveland, mom and dad decided to move out to the sticks, Thompson, Ohio. There they rented a nice house with ten acres of land, and a building that resembled a barn. There was also a chicken-house that we filled up with a hundred baby chicks right away.

Thompson, Ohio, was fantastic for me. I learned how to drive a tractor, and began making great pocket money from the neighbors. Since we lived so far out in the sticks, the school bus did not even drive by our house. After mom tired of driving me to school, we discovered that when I turned 14 I could get a “day-time-only,” restricted driver’s license.  Hooray!

No sooner than we were getting used to country living, mom decided she didn’t like it because we couldn’t have a horse. So they pulled up stakes again and returned to Cleveland. I refused to move again and stayed through half of the 11th grade with school-teaching family. I finished up high school at Cleveland Heights High, a school of about 2,000 kids, almost 80% of which were Jewish. These kids were very smart, and a very high percentage of them were National Honor Society members. In that year and a half I learned just how much I had missed by not going to a proper challenging high school had cost me.  I adapted, got fair grades, and skated by to earn my high school diploma.

Living at home was not an option. Too much fighting, drinking, and uncertainty for me at this time, led me to flee to California where I had two Aunts, and I would try to make it on my own.  I quickly found out that being on your own was not as easy as I thought, but I grew up, and learned that I needed much more knowledge, and many more skills to compete for a high standard of living.

Now at 77 I can say that I did that the hard way, and in today’s world what I did is almost impossible. More formal education is required, which I was able to provide my son and daughter, who both have a college degree, and are close to getting their kids ready for adult life.  Nevertheless, the greatest lesson of all turns out to be Luke’s teaching about “humility and exaltation.” Without having learned those lessons early on, I probably would have fallen flat on my face. Thank you Lord for your teaching!

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