“Jehovah . . . takes note of the humble.”—PS. 138:6.
SONG 48 Daily Walking With Jehovah
1. How does Jehovah feel about humble people? Explain.
JEHOVAH loves humble people. Only those who are truly humble can have a warm, personal relationship with him. On the other hand, “the haughty he knows only from a distance.” (Ps. 138:6) All of us want to please Jehovah and experience his warm love, so we have good reasons to learn to cultivate humility.
2. What will we discuss in this article?
2 In this article, we will discuss the answers to three questions: (1) What is humility? (2) Why should we cultivate that quality? (3) What situations can test our humility? As we will see, when we cultivate humility, we bring joy to Jehovah’s heart and benefit ourselves.—Prov. 27:11; Isa. 48:17.
WHAT IS HUMILITY?
3. What is humility?
3 Humility is lowliness of mind and freedom from pride or arrogance. The Bible indicates that a humble person has a proper view of his relationship with Jehovah God and with his fellow man. The humble person acknowledges that everyone is superior to him in some way.—Phil. 2:3, 4.
4-5. Why can we say that true humility is not something that we merely appear to have?
4 Some people only appear to be humble. They may have an unassuming personality. Or they may show deference or politeness because of their culture and upbringing. But deep down, they may actually be very prideful. Sooner or later, they will reveal what they truly are at heart.—Luke 6:45.
5 On the other hand, people who appear confident or forthright are not necessarily proud. (John 1:46, 47) Yet, those with outgoing personalities must be careful not to rely on their natural ability. Whether we are outgoing or not, all of us must work at developing a humble heart condition.
6. As shown at 1 Corinthians 15:10, what can we learn from the example of the apostle Paul?
6 Consider the example of the apostle Paul. He was used mightily by Jehovah to establish new congregations in one city after another. He may even have accomplished more in the ministry than any other apostle of Jesus Christ. Yet, Paul did not elevate himself among his brothers. Humbly, he admitted: “I am the least of the apostles, and I am not worthy of being called an apostle, because I persecuted the congregation of God.” (1 Cor. 15:9) Then, Paul correctly attributed his fine standing with Jehovah, not to his own qualities or works, but to God’s undeserved kindness. (Read 1 Corinthians 15:10.) What a fine lesson in humility Paul gave in his letter to the Corinthians—especially when we recall that some men in the congregation were seeking to prove themselves to be superior to Paul!—2 Cor. 10:10.
7. How have some prominent brothers in modern times shown humility? Give an example.
7 Many of Jehovah’s people have been encouraged by the life story of Brother Karl F. Klein, who served as a member of the Governing Body. In his life story, Brother Klein humbly admitted to a number of the challenges that he had struggled with over the years. For example, back in the 1920’s, he found the house-to-house work to be so difficult that after his first time out, for some two years he did not do it again. Later, while serving at Bethel, he harbored resentment for a time after he received counsel. Also, he suffered a nervous breakdown, from which he later recovered. Yet, he also enjoyed a number of outstanding privileges. Just think what humility it took for such a well-known brother to admit his weaknesses freely! Many brothers and sisters fondly remember Brother Klein and his frank, appealing life story. *
WHY SHOULD WE CULTIVATE HUMILITY?
8. How does 1 Peter 5:6 help us to see that humility pleases Jehovah?
8 The most important reason for us to cultivate humility is that it pleases Jehovah. The apostle Peter made this clear. (Read 1 Peter 5:6.) Commenting on Peter’s words, the book “Come Be My Follower” says: “Haughtiness is like poison. The effects can be devastating. It is a quality that can render the most gifted human useless to God. Humility, on the other hand, can make even the least one very useful to Jehovah. . . . [He] will . . . delight in rewarding you for your humility.” * Really, could we hope for anything better than to bring joy to Jehovah’s heart?—Prov. 23:15.
9. How does humility draw other people to us?
9 Besides pleasing Jehovah, we receive many benefits when we cultivate humility. Humility draws other people to us. To understand why, put yourself in the shoes of others. (Matt. 7:12) Few of us enjoy dealing with people who always insist on their own way and who refuse to accept suggestions from others. By contrast, we find it refreshing to deal with our fellow believers when they show “fellow feeling, brotherly affection, tender compassion, and humility.” (1 Pet. 3:8) If we are drawn to such people, they will likely be drawn to us—as long as we are humble.
10. How does humility make our life easier?
10 Humility also makes our life easier. Realistically, we may observe things in life that do not seem to be right or fair. The wise man King Solomon acknowledged: “I have seen servants on horseback but princes walking on foot just like servants.” (Eccl. 10:7) Those who have great ability do not always receive recognition. And those with less ability sometimes receive more honor. Even so, Solomon acknowledged that it is wise for us to face reality rather than to be obsessed with negative circumstances. (Eccl. 6:9) If we are humble, we will find it easier to accept life as it is—not as we think it should be.
WHAT SITUATIONS CAN TEST OUR HUMILITY?
11. How should we react when we receive counsel?
11 Each day, we have countless opportunities to show humility. Consider a few situations. When we receive counsel. We do well to remember that if someone takes the time to offer us correction, we have likely strayed more than we realize. At such times, we may find that our first inclination is to reject the counsel. We might criticize the person who gave it or the way he said it. But if we are humble, we will strive to regain our balance.
12. According to Proverbs 27:5, 6, why should we appreciate someone who offers us counsel? Illustrate.
12 A humble person appreciates counsel. To illustrate: Imagine that you are at a Christian meeting. After talking with several fellow believers, you are pulled aside by one of them who discreetly mentions that you have some food on your teeth. No doubt, you would feel embarrassed. But would you not also appreciate that he or she let you know? In fact, you might wish that someone else had told you sooner! Likewise, we should humbly appreciate a fellow believer who has the courage to offer us counsel when we need it. We view that person as our friend, not our enemy.—Read Proverbs 27:5, 6; Gal. 4:16.
13. How can we show humility when others receive privileges of service?
13 When others receive privileges of service. “When I see others receive privileges, I sometimes wonder why I was not chosen,” admits an elder named Jason. Do you ever feel that way? It is not wrong to be “reaching out” for greater privileges of service. (1 Tim. 3:1) However, we must guard our thinking. If we are not careful, we could allow pride to grow in our heart. For example, a Christian man could begin to think that he is the one who is most qualified for a certain assignment. Or a Christian wife might think, ‘My husband is much more qualified than so-and-so!’ However, if we are truly humble, we will avoid such a prideful spirit.
14. What can we learn from the way that Moses reacted when others received privileges?
14 We can learn from the way that Moses reacted when others received privileges. Moses appreciated his assignment of leading the nation of Israel. How did Moses react when Jehovah permitted others to serve alongside him? He was not jealous. (Num. 11:24-29) As to judging the people, he humbly allowed others to share some of his workload. (Ex. 18:13-24) This meant better service for the Israelites whom he was appointed to judge. In that sense, Moses did not put his privileges ahead of the welfare of others. What a good example for us! We remember that if we are to be truly useful to Jehovah, our humility should exceed our ability. Although “Jehovah is high, he takes note of the humble.”—Ps. 138:6.
15. What new circumstances have many faced?
15 When we face new circumstances. In recent years, many with decades of experience have received a change of assignment. For example, back in 2014, district overseers and their wives were invited to serve in another form of full-time service. Starting in that same year, circuit overseers will discontinue their assignment when they reach 70 years of age. And brothers 80 years of age or older no longer serve in the congregation as the coordinator of the body of elders. Moreover, in the past several years, many in the Bethel family have been reassigned to the field. Others have had to discontinue special full-time service because of health problems, family obligations, or other personal circumstances.
16. How have our brothers and sisters shown humility in adjusting to their new circumstances?
16 Such adjustments were not easy for these brothers and sisters to make. Obviously, they felt attached to their former assignment, in many cases one that they had cherished for years. Some went through a “grieving” process as they adjusted to their new circumstances. In time, though, they were able to adjust. Why? Above all, because of their love for Jehovah. They knew that they were dedicated to God—not to a work, a title, or an assignment. (Col. 3:23) They are glad to continue serving Jehovah humbly in any capacity. They “throw all [their] anxiety on him,” knowing that he cares for them.—1 Pet. 5:6, 7.
17. Why are we grateful that God’s Word encourages us to cultivate humility?
17 Are we not grateful that God’s Word encourages us to cultivate humility? When we cultivate this endearing quality, we benefit both ourselves and others. We are better able to deal with life’s challenges. Above all, we draw closer to our heavenly Father. How glad we are to know that although he is “the High and Lofty One,” he loves and values his humble servants!—Isa. 57:15.
SONG 45 The Meditation of My Heart
^ par. 5 One of the most important qualities we need to develop is humility. What is humility? Why should we cultivate it? And how can changing circumstances test our humility? This article will discuss these important questions.
^ par. 7 See the article “Jehovah Has Dealt Rewardingly With Me” in the October 1, 1984, issue of The Watchtower.
^ par. 8 See chap. 3, par. 23.
^ par. 53 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: While at a brother’s home, the apostle Paul humbly enjoys fellowship with others, including young ones.
^ par. 57 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A brother accepts Bible-based counsel from a younger brother.
^ par. 59 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: The older brother is not envious of the younger brother who enjoys a privilege in the congregation.