“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble

When you’re perfect in every way”

Many of you will also remember the rest of the words to this song

“I can’t wait to look in the mirror

cause I get better lookin each day

Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble

But I’m doing the best that I can”


Looking in the mirror these days – it’s no twenty something staring back at me...Double it and add a bit – add lots of wrinkles and a slightly fuller figure - I’ll amend that to a considerably fuller figure.


But that’s not the humbleness we’re going to be talking about in the first reading from the prophet Micah.  It’s our humbleness before God - the only perfect one.

Often when we hear the word humble many of us think it means to be passive.  To be humble is to have an accurate view of yourself that is not inflated.  O walk humbly with God is to recognize our relationship with Him and it’s importance and priority in our lives.  When we walk humbly with God, our lives are not directed by the world but by God.


The word humility comes from the Latin word Humas meaning earth.  Humility is acknowledging our God centered-ness therefore it is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.  Humility is not thinking less of yourself it’s thinking of yourself less.  Humility changes things.  It changes our relationships with one another and also changes our relationship with God.


We’re all human and make mistakes.  Often I act a little impulsively – without thinking things through.  Yes,  opened my mouth then put my foot in it and got into trouble because of it. Other times I have waited too long when I should have jumped in.    Sometimes when feeling ill prepared – situations become overwhelming.  It’s at these times when I pray for wisdom and strength.  I try to humble myself before God and He helps by giving me the strength to get through difficulties in my life.


God the father loves every one of us unconditionally, no matter what we have done in the past or will do in the future.  Think about all the times in your life that God has shown that He was there for you.  One of the best ways to learn about someone is to spend your time with the person and that applies to God as well.  Even though God knows everything about you and about everything going on in your life, talk to Him as you would your best friend.  God wants us to humbly admit that we can’t do it on our own.   He wants us to come to Him.


Listen for God speak to you.  He talks to your heart – spirit to spirit.  He wants us to be fulfilled in this life and the next. 


In our first reading from Micah, the people focused on ritual practises and sacrifices, but this was not what God wanted.  God is more concerned and interested in the way we live day by day.  Micah was a prophet writing to the people of Jerusalem.  At the time Israel had been divided into two kingdoms:  The northern kingdom known as Israel and the southern kingdom known as Judah.  Micah is writing to Judah.   


Corinth exercised great influence and was a strategic port.  In the Church of Corinth, people used status as a means to elevate their positions within the church.  They were at odds with each other, boastful and thoughtless towards one another.  As in the people of Judah, the Corinthians needed to be reminded of their identity as people of God and not the world.


Attending church and singing praises are religious practises, but God wants more.  Going through the motions does not make up for bad behaviour.  He wants us to act justly and in fairness -  He wants us to show kindness with love, mercy, compassion and walk humbly with Him.


The Micah passage which was echoed in today’s Gospel reading reminds us of what we can do to see the kingdom of God.  The message to the community in Micah was that they need to be reminded of their identity as God’s people and not of the world.


Similarly, the Be-Attitudes are beautiful attitudes to have in our life.  Jesus promises blessings to those who understand and seek to follow His teaching.  Jesus showed us kindness, love and mercy and humbly died on the cross for us.  The beatitudes teach us that we must hear the cry of those who suffer if we want to see the kingdom of God.  We also hear Micah in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.   Again, this is a community being reminded of what it means to love and follow God.  Likewise, we today need to remember that God doesn’t want things from us  – He wants us – our lives and our obedience.  Walking humbly with God is symbolic of a relationship and it means going through the good and the sad times together.  It’s not a one time thing – it’s a commitment.  Jesus was the ultimate example of walking humbly – not only did he walk humbly through life, but shows us what it is like to perfectly love God and love others.  We also need to be reminded, like the Church in Corinth, that we are called to a way of living that may look foolish to the world – instead of boasting about wealth, status and power, we try to follow the teachings of Jesus.


The world today is focused on size and success.  Businesses have targets for growth and even churches are anxious about declining attendance.


Jesus encourages us to look for the little things – small acts of kindness, love and generosity that grows into warmth and community.  We grow in love of one another as we grow in our love for God.  Jesus taught us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER and that our neighbour is anyone in need regardless of skin colour, culture, language or faith.


When we buy a new car or appliance that comes with manufacturer’s instructions we often read them for information to improve performance.  Because God the Creator made all of us, who better can we turn to for instruction on how to live than God?  If we listen and learn what He wants us to do we will better ourselves from the inside out which can enable us to make a difference in the lives of others.


God is watching and speaking to us....not just on Sunday but on Mondays too.  He wants us to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. 


I know that we all do some nice things for people, but doing occasional nice things is not enough.  I think it includes taking time to be with someone who needs someone to listen to them.  Next time your in a hurry at the grocery store and the clerk is listening to someone talking about something totally unrelated to the order and you notice the line up at the till is growing, just think kind thoughts ....perhaps the clerk is the first person a lonely customer has had the opportunity to talk to all day.  Often a simple kindness can make a difference in someone’s life.


My Mum died in hospital during the night and as I was leaving the hospital a man was rushing in.  I remember him just about knocking a few of us over as he pushed by.  I was about to yell something very unkind and that’s putting it mildly, when a voice inside me said  “Hold on, you don’t know why he’s in such a rush – maybe he’s here for the same reason as we are or perhaps he’s a real gentle man who is excited because his wife is giving birth”.  We don’t know why some people act the way they do because we don’t know what’s going on inside them; but God does.  He knows our every thought – the good ones and those not so good.


I know many times my life has been in chaos because I thought I could make it on my own, and the truth is I had to get rid of my prideful attitude.  People who embrace their vulnerability and choose to face their sorrows and challenges with faith can find a special place close to God’s heart.  They often console and inspire others. 


Everything in our lives is a gift from God.  We’ve all made it this far – thanks be to God.  We’ve all had enough food, clothing and a place to lay our heads.  Let us remember in our prayers those who don’t; and think of where we can make a difference.   


We must remember the Lord came down and humbly became one of us and gave His life for us.  His spirit, the Comforter, remains with us and so we give thanks.

Who are the blessed ones of God?  For Micah, they are those who do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.  For Paul, they are the ones who find wisdom in the weakness of the cross.  For Jesus, they are the poor, the mourners, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers.  In baptism we find our blessed identity and calling in this countercultural way of living and serving.  


Let’s resolve to live our lives patterned after Jesus where we are not noticed by what the world deems worthy but we are noticed for acting justly, loving kindness and walking humbly with our God.


I’m thankful God has led Jim and I to a congregation where real love happens – and I’ve been in a lot of congregations.


What else can I say, perhaps AMEN.