“False Humility Makes Me Want to Vomit”

The campus pastor at the Bible college I attended told a story that I have never forgotten:

He and his wife were visiting a church and ended up sitting behind an older couple. After the first song, the elderly woman turned around and said, “What beautiful voices you both have. I feel like I am being serenaded by an angelic choir.” My campus pastor was embarrassed and shook his head, saying, “Oh, we don’t sing all that well. But it’s nice of you to say that.” To which the elderly woman replied,

“False humility makes me want to vomit.” And promptly turned around.

He used that story to introduce a sermon encouraging us to acknowledge the gifts that God had given each of us. Because God has given gifts to each of us.

Now stop right there. I know some of you reading this just thought. “Nuh-uh. Not me. I can’t do ANYTHING.”

Do I need to bring the old lady back?

Here’s the problem — I think we can all acknowledge there are things we like to do. We like to cook, we like to play sports, we like to draw. But we know we aren’t the best at any of those. And we figure since there are so many others who are better, we are being arrogant to say that we are any good at all.

For example, I like to sing. But when I hear my favorites like Judy Garland or Ella Fitzgerald or Etta James (if you don’t know who these ladies are, look them up on Youtube TODAY!!), I know that even on my best day, I sound like a croaking bullfrog compared to them. They are amazing! But just because I am not the best singer ever doesn’t mean I can’t say “Thank you” when a song I sing in church blesses someone. In fact, my campus pastor helped me see that when I don’t say “Thank you,” when I roll my eyes and say, “That was rough,” or “I had a sore throat this morning,” or whatever, I am, in effect, saying to that person, “Your praise doesn’t mean anything.” I am offending someone who was trying to encourage me.

And furthermore, our abilities are gifts – given to us by God. If we are praised for our abilities, we thank the person who was kind enough to complement us, and we acknowledge that those gifts are from our Savior.

This isn’t just for singing. How about sports? Did you hit a ground ball that enabled your team mate to run home? Even if you got out on your way around the bases, you take those high five’s coming back into the dug out. God gave you the ability to hit that ball. You helped get your team a run!

It’s true for art, too. Maybe your English teacher assigns a group project where you have to create a sheild for the Montague family. You come up the idea and make it happen. Then you see the Capulet group. It looks like the Art teacher came in a made it. It’s perfect. Does that mean you aren’t talented? Not at all. Praise that other team and be proud of yours.

Concentrate more on doing your best than on being the best.

And for goodness’ sake, if an old lady tells you you sing like an angel, you tell her “Thank you, ma’am,” smile, and keep singing.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *