“He must become greater, I must become less.” – John 3:30
Samuel Brengle was once introduced as “the great Doctor Brengle.” On that same day he wrote in his diary, “If I appear to be great in their eyes, the Lord is most graciously helping me to see how absolutely nothing I am without Him and helping me to keep little in my own eyes. He does use me. But I’m so concerned that He uses me and that it is not of me the work is done. The ax cannot boast of the trees it has cut down. It could do nothing but for the woodsman. He made it, he sharpened it, he used it. the moment he throws it aside it becomes only old iron. Oh, that I may never lose sight of this. The spiritual leader of today is in all probability one who yesterday expressed his humility by working gladly and faithfully in second place.”
One of the bigger problems of today’s generation is that too often, we have a hard time being silent and playing second fiddle. There is an addiction to being found in first place that people easily fall into. When we look at how Christ told his disciples to act in Matthew 20:25-27, the opposite holds true!
As Christians, we must remember what that stands for. “Christ”-ians. Little Christs. Once upon a time, a group of English tourists were visiting the house where Beethoven, the great composer, spent his last years. And they came to the special room, the conservatory, where his piano sat. The guide said rather quietly to the group, “And here is the master’s piano.” One thoughtless young woman pushed her way from the back of the room all the way up, sat down at the bench, and began to play one of Beethoven’s sonatas, and then paused and said to the guide and the others in the group, “I suppose a lot of people enjoy playing this piano.” “Well, Miss,” the guide said, “Ignacy Paderewski[one of the greatest pianists of the early 19th century] was here last summer with a group and some wanted him to play. AND HIS ANSWER WAS, ‘No, I cannot. I am not WORTHY.’”
The greatest expression of humility on occasion is simply to remain silent and let the applause go to the other person, the person of greatness.1
1G. B. F. Hallock, 2,500 Best Modern Illustrations