On this Blog I will be posting things that people are doing to make this world a better place. In the comment section of each post I would like you to tell me about things you have done to make the lives of those around you better. It could be something as simple as buying someone in need a hot meal. Any of the things you put in the comments section will be posted on this Blog.

Request for (10) cards: Send a self addressed, stamped envelope to:

Promise Cards
4710 Farming Ridge Blvd.
Reading, Pa. 19606

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Story of Humility

     I found this story in a sermon called: "A Call to Humility" by Rev. Dr. Robert M. Bowman; Presiding Bishop, United Catholic Church 1998. I don't know where it originated, but it was sent to him by his eldest Son Rob. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

     Ruth was an elderly woman, alone in the world and living on social security. Like many seniors, she often found that there were too many days in a month. She ran out of money before she ran out of month. Sometimes it came down to choosing between medicines and food. But by carefully eliminating unnecessary expenses (like a car, movies, and the daily paper), she had learned to get by.Ruth’s mail usually came around ten thirty in the morning, and she looked forward to receiving it, even though it was mostly junk mail and bills. One Saturday morning, she went out to her mailbox about eleven (as was her custom). In it there was only one envelope. She thought it strange, because there was no stamp and no postmark, only her name and address, carefully handwritten on the envelope. She opened it and read:

Dear Ruth,
I’m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I’d like to stop by for a visit.
Love always, Jesus

      Her hands were shaking as she carried the letter in and placed it on her kitchen table. "Why would the Lord want to visit me? I’m nobody special. I don’t have anything to offer."With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets. "Oh my goodness, I really don’t have anything to offer. I’ll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner."She reached for her purse and counted out its contents. Five dollars and forty cents. "Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least." She threw on her coat and hurried out the door. A loaf of french bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk, leaving Ruth with a grand total of twelve cents to last her until Monday, when her next check was to arrive. Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.

     "Hey lady, can you help us, lady?" Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn’t even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags. "Look lady, I ain’t got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it’s getting cold and we’re getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we’d really appreciate it."Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad, and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to. "Sir, I’d like to help you, but I’m a poor woman myself. My twelve cents isn’t going to do you any good, and I’m having an important guest for dinner tonight, and this little bit of food is to serve to him.""Yeah, well, OK lady, I understand. Thanks anyway." The man put his arm around the woman’s shoulders, turned, and headed back into the alley.

     As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart. "Sir, wait! Why don’t you take this food. I’ll figure out something else to serve my guest." She handed the man her grocery bag."Thank you, lady. Thank you very much!" The man’s wife chipped in, "Yes, thank you!" Ruth could see now that she was shivering. "You know, I’ve got another coat at home. Here, why don’t you take this one." Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman’s shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street, without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest."Thank you lady! Thank you very much!"

     Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her door, and worried too. The Lord was coming to visit, and she didn’t have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox "That’s odd. The mailman doesn’t usually come twice in one day." She took the envelope out of the box and opened it.

Dear Ruth,
It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.
Love always, Jesus

     The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed. The scripture came to her mind, "As many times as you have done it to one of these least ones, you have done it to me." Ruth realized that this was not her first encounter with Jesus, and would not be her last. Jesus is all around us, and among us.

       This story teaches us some importants things about humility. We should endeavor to treat everyone we meet with respect, dignity and kindness. Humility is to look down on no one. To treat no one as having lesser value than ourselves. Remember that we do not have to devalue ourselves to be humble. We just have to not devalue others.

Do you wish to rise? begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.----Saint Augustine

1 comment:

  1. I've seen variations on this over the years, and it never loses its freshness or its meaning. No matter how little we feel we have, there is always someone with less. Sometimes we may have to dig around for it, and fight our own fears of being without, in order to give. And although there's a certain appeal to anonymity, i also believe very strongly that acts of kindness - and stories about them - should be witnessed by children, who will (hopefully) then model their own behavior on ours, and keep the cycle going. :)