In North Carolina, preachers go to their new appointments on Sunday and then move the next week. When I was appointed to the Moncure Charge, I was living in Fayetteville, N.C. What I didn’t know was that Dr. Tom Langford’s aunt was a member of my new church. Dr. Langford was the Dean of the Duke Divinity School. When I arrived at Moncure UMC, I was told that Dr. Langford was visiting with us that morning.
I was nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof before I heard that. It was my first Sunday. I had not met these folks that would become my new family and I had never preached a sermon before. I didn’t start Duke Seminary until the Fall. I was a Chemist and preaching was all new to me. My mouth was dry and I was sweating profusely. This was the worst day of my life. Preaching to new people when you haven’t been trained was bad enough but to have the Dean of Duke Divinity School there added a whole new dimension.
Dr. Langford was kind and generous as I shook hands with everyone as they left the church. I learned a valuable lesson that day. I learned that humiliation can be a good thing if it leads to humility. This is the key that opens God’s heart. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” He showers the humble with grace. God said, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
I preached under appointment for forty-five years and I was nervous every time I got into a pulpit to preach God’s Word. I learned that humility is the key that opens God’s heart. I learned that God wants us all to be humble. As we humble ourselves before God, He lifts us up. (James 4:10)
Prayer: Father, help me to accept humiliation if it in some way brings honor and glory to You.
James 4:6 –God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.
Author: Tommy Herndon