On my lunch walk, today, a question came to mind and I pondered on it. When you are appreciated for the good you’ve done, how should you react? Assuming, of course, the good deed is indeed good and not some shady act done for the illegitimate gain of someone.
As an example, let’s say you put your life in danger to save someone’s life.
A possible reaction could be to disregard the gratitude and treat the deed as trivial. However, that runs the risk of belittling the value someone has in what you’ve done. Perhaps you saved the life of a child or a parent; to say, “oh it was nothing” is to say the family member had little to no worth and your deed was from having nothing better to do.
You can’t reject gratitude; but, do you embrace it and revel in it? That, then, puts you in company with the less-than-popular trait of pride. “That’s right, they should thank me because, if it weren’t for me …”
Pride is never the right response, right?
How then is one to accept gratitude, and do so humbly? Smile and keep walking? Hardly a satisfying response to ones who have been given a second chance at life, possibly.
That’s when I found the key to my conundrum.
Although not every situation may be life threatening and not every deed may be worthy of a medal; nevertheless, two truths remain:
- The source of a good deed can only be a good entity
- The undoing of a bad situation can only be the result of sovereignty
In other words, only when we realise that good only comes from God and it is His sovereignty that chooses to use me for that good can I celebrate humility. Think of it like this:
God, who is omnipotent (all-powerful) chose to use me (when all sense would have chosen any body else) to carry out an act that a large hoard of angels were willing and more than capable of doing. If that isn’t humbling, I don’t know what is.
I used to picture it with the analogy of a carpenter who built a table and gifted you it. Do you thank him for his work or do you thank the hammer?
Then I realised that this analogy was missing two minor details:
- The hammer should be broken yet the carpenter still chooses to use it despite the many other fully intact ones in his toolbox
- The table should be a house under which the receiver can take shelter
A hammer can’t even hit a nail on the head without someone using it; how do I dare take credit or even humbly receive gratitude for a deed I didn’t even do? The credit goes to God and my joy and celebration is in the humbling experience that He chose to use me for this overwhelmingly good deed.
In the words of Jesus,
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 NASB