When the brilliant Ken Miles is asked to slow down in the 24 hour Le Mans race, so that his team mates can catch up with him and they can all cross the line together, he has a problem. He’s not a team player anyway, and he is here to prove that he is the best. So he intends to ignore the request. But as he nears the finishing line, he has second thoughts, and amazes everyone by hitting the brake pedal. However, his wife Molly, watching on their TV at home, nods to herself and whispers, ‘Well done Ken.’ She knows him, knows he’s the best. Humility is a hard quality to quantify. Some fear that it turns us into a doormat. It’s certainly not popular in the age we live in. Pride is what matters. Asserting yourself. Stating your case. And often forcing others aside to prove the point. When Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the humble,’ the word he used here summons up the image of a powerful horse under control. Another definition describes humility as knowing our place in the world, and being secure in that. In the letter to a bunch called the Philippians, Jesus is described as humble, giving up everything he had for us. And when he knelt to wash his friends’ feet we are told that he wasn’t trying to prove anything. He knew where he had come from, where he was going, and the immense power that God had given him. Being secure in this enabled him to kneel and wash feet. (You can read this in John chapter 13 verses 3-4) This was humility for him. Knowing he was accepted, and valued, and cared for by God. I see something about humility in this moment from Le Mans. Molly and Ken are at ease with each other, and with their world. When Ken was denied the chance to enter the race on another year, she brought him a beer, tuned the radio to some music and quietly danced with him. We need help to be humble, it’s not always cultural, but it does make the world a better place.
I regularly post creative pieces which help folks connect with the Bible in a contemporary and down-to-earth way. Please feel free to make use of them if they inspire you. I also post daily short thoughts on Twitter and have produced a variety of books, most of which draw on the Bible.