Episode 45. December 4, 2016. I want to start by giving a shout out to my older brother Greg who turns 63 today. Greg, I am so grateful for you and all that you taught me growing up. Happy Birthday!
Today I again want to talk about humility. In episode 20 I talked about how we can begin to get humility into our lives, but now I want to take it to another level by talking about why we need something called Deep Humility.
I chose this topic because of a verse I read this past week while studying my scriptures. It is found in King Benjamin’s address in the 4th chapter of Mosiah verse 11. Here is what it says:
“And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel. [emphasis added].”
So much like I explained in episode 20 where the invitation to come unto Christ comes after the command to believe and repent, this is another example where what comes AFTER repentance is often confused with what is required FOR repentance. In other words, we generally think of humility as a requirement for repentance, and that is absolutely true. But I don’t think we talk enough about the humility that is required AFTER repentance in order to live up to the expectations the Lord has for us so that we can claim all of the blessings of the gospel.
What I want to do today is dig a bit deeper into this call for an extremely deep and powerful humility. As I have studied this, I can see how the counsel that follows in the remainder of chapter 4, requires deep humility if we are to obey what has been given.
So what exactly is the counsel that requires such deep humility? I have identified and listed 15 things that King Benjamin counsels us to do after obtaining this deep humility. You can find them beginning in verse 12 through verse 28. Today, however, I only want to talk about one. This is so important that King Benjamin spends 11 verses explaining it, beginning in verse 16 where he introduces the topic.
“And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.”
Well, to bring this topic home, I want to share three real life experiences. First my own and then two from friends of ours. I do this with permission from both of them.
First my story. In January of this year LaDawn and I went over to McDonalds, which is within walking distance from our condo, and bought some food and then sat by a window and ate it. Three young shoddily clad boys stood outside our window and begged and begged for our food. They were quite obnoxious and became especially animated as we ate our ice cream sundaes. I knew they weren’t supposed to be there and probably came from a squatter neighborhood close by. I managed to ignore them until they eventually went away. A week later I read a Facebook post from Cliff Keeler who is currently living in Mumbai, India with his wife Wendy. Their story was a direct rebuke from a loving Heavenly Father deep into my soul. I share their story here:
“Last Saturday evening, on our way to the movies a beggar boy asked us for some money. We normally do not give money to beggars because the generally have handlers (pimps) for whom they work. So we decided to buy him a Subway sandwich. He was very nervous entering the store because normally they get chased out. I wanted to just buy a to-go meal and give it to him. However, Wendy wisely suggested that we eat it in the store with him to ensure he got the food and not his handler. We got some condescending looks from the store workers and patrons because we brought this dust-covered boy into the store. But, as most know, that never bothers Wendy from doing the right thing. So we sat down with the boy and talked and laughed with him. But before he ate much, he asked if he could go get one of his friends. He came back in less than 2 minutes with 3 of his buddies. We thought it was cute that he wanted his friends to share in his joy. So I purchased more food and these 4 boys were in heaven and we enjoyed sitting and talking with them in Wendy’s broken Hindi. It was interesting to see how the environment in the store changed too. I went to the counter to purchase more soda and the shop manager offered them to me for free. One of the patrons on his way out with his daughter stopped and said, ‘We Indians will give some money or small food, but we would never sit down and spend time with these boys. What you have shown tonight makes me want to be better.” Of course we did not expect that our actions would change so many attitudes but it made us feel good inside. All of God’s children are of infinite worth and deserve love and respect. It really doesn’t take much to make a difference.”
Thank you Cliff and Wendy for being such profound examples of what it means to be Christlike.
The second story occurred this last week to a member of our ward here in Manila, Jennise Lamb. Jennise is a member of our YW Presidency and is one of the most service oriented individuals I have ever met. She regularly visits and serves the children who live at the dumpsite not far from her home south of Manila. Here is her story. I will warn you upfront that it is emotional and even a bit disturbing. But it is a story that needs to be retold.
“My heart hurts. I am so full of emotions I cannot comprehend. I share this after much contemplation simply to show you what is ever so common here in the Philippines. This is life for many people. It is hard. It is not fair. 24 hours have passed since I found a man whom was nearly dead lying on the side of the road. The human in me wanted to move along. I was frightened and overwhelmed. I was unsure of what to do.
I was on my way to the Doctor with a mother from the dumpsite and her two children. The baby so severely malnourished and with pneumonia required immediate hospitalization 2 weeks ago but the mother refused. Already handling an extremely delicate situation I was unsure how I would handle a deceased man. The thoughts quickly racing through my head, ‘Move along Jennise. Don’t look back.’ Followed by, ‘Jennise you must go back. Go back now.’
Anxious and afraid I arrived to find this man barely moving. He was naked, covered in grass and extremely thin but he was alive. He was breathing. The sun was hot. His ability to communicate impossible. Frantic I grabbed the snacks in my bag, food in my car and old water bottles. He began to inhale them. Tearing them open and spilling the contents into his mouth. The water he poured over his burning shoulders. As I glanced around I saw clothing in the street. A shirt, pants and a hat. It was wet but hoped he would cover his sunburnt skin. He did not.
Calling 911 they informed me help was on the way. Help never came. The police down the road said there was nothing they could do. This is life. Not my person. Not my problem. An all to familiar response. I was torn as I had a child vomiting in the car and a man helpless on the side of the road. This was my reality. There was nothing more I could do in that moment. As I began to leave I stopped, got down on his level and looked him in the eyes, “I have to go,” I said “but we will be back with dry clothes and food. Miles please know Heavenly Father loves you.” He gave a slight response to me one of the ladies in blue. Westerners. Expats. ALIG members. Women who care. Women who are trying to change lives, one smile at a time.
‘For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.’ Matthew 25:36
Thank you Jennise for your incredible willingness to give and give to those who do not have the means to take care of themselves. Your selflessness is inspiring and is blessing many more people than you realize.
Okay, I want to go back to chapter 4 in Mosiah and read verses 17 and 18.
And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
I have been guilty of this very attitude in the past, even recently as mentioned above. What I am learning is that the Lord wants us to err on the side of mercy in every single case. You see, every person who is in need, men, women and children are all God’s children. He loves them and cares for them, just as we love and care for our own children. How grateful he is when we reach beyond ourselves and serve one of them.
Because caring for the poor and needy is a commandment, there are consequences if we ignore this counsel. We can find those consequences spelled out in verses 21 and 22 of that same chapter. Here is what they say:
“And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.”
So what then is the connection between deep humility and caring for the beggar? As I have pondered and prayed about the answer to this question, I have felt some stirrings that suggest three possible reasons.
- Successful people are successful because they have worked hard. They have sacrificed their time, their energy, their money and in some cases even relationships in order to achieve their success. To now give freely of those means to someone who perhaps has not worked as hard or sacrificed in the same way requires deep humility. It requires a recognition that we are all beggars before God.
- It takes courage to care for those that others shun. The two examples above bear this out. Cliff and Wendy brought this dirty dusty boy into Subway, and they knew people were looking at them and looking down on them…at least initially. Think of the cars that passed as Jennise tried to help the man on the side of the road. She had to know that others were gawking at her for stopping. Courage takes deep humility. It takes a willingness to put the acceptance of a God we cannot see over the acceptance of man who is right there witnessing the event.
- Deep humility is the one of the most important characteristics of Christ. Without it, we tend to look down on others, instead of looking up to The term “depths of humility” reinforces the concept of being meek and lowly.
In closing, I want to invite all of us to be different over the next year. And I don’t just mean at Christmas. Let’s look for the opportunities to help someone in some way that they cannot help themselves. Often the greatest gift we can give is not our money, it is our time. May we pray for deep humility to be nurtured and taught by God so that we can look up to God and learn from Him who of his children he would have us nurture and serve.