The Humble of Heart

by | May 21, 2007 | Humility

My first church. 2Samuel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

The word used in the verse from 2 Samuel 22:31 that was translated buckler, mean a shield, as a soldier of olden times would take into battle. Of course we all know that it was designed to protect the soldier from the arrows and sword thrust of the enemy.

As a very young pastor, I was only twenty-two at the time, I was trying to pastor my first church in the foot hills of the Appalachian Mountains in east Tennessee. Needless to say, I was very inexperienced. But what I lacked in wisdom, and experience was made up for in ignorance and youthful brashness. My philosophy was, if you don’t know what you are doing, act like you do anyway.

I remember the first door that I knocked on was the home of the oldest member of the church and as it turned out later, my first funeral sermon was to be for this ninety-three year old little white haired great grandma. I think she was great grandma to at least two thirds of the church, which consisted of approximately twenty regular attendees. When I knocked, she came to the door and I proudly introduced myself as her new pastor. She took one look at this big ole dumb farm boy and said with a giggle “You are too young to be a preacher!” And closed the door in my face.

Well that set the tempo for everything I tried to do to build that church, I was either too young, or something. It seemed as if I were doomed to failure. The problem was I had planned to win the world and I did not realize the world did not want to be won. As inexperienced as I was and young and brash, and awfully ignorant, I had one thing going for me, I was truly saved by the blood of Christ and knew without a shadow of a doubt that God had called me to be a preacher.

I began to get worried and thus I began to pray and fast as I asked the Lord to help me to be humble and to lead me into His will. While I was spending time praying, it seemed as if the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about starting cottage prayer meeting two nights a week around the area of my work. Would you believe folks started to be saved and started to attend church and before long we were averaging between fifty and sixty folks on Sunday morning? Sunday school was growing; we even had four folks saved at one time during a Sunday morning service. Hallelujah, I was on a roll, why I got to the place you could hear me coming from a mile away, yes sir, I was the preacher! The crowds were getting bigger and so was my head.

Suffice it to say, God was blessing and I was not learning much, for many times the immature have to be brought down a few points to teach them the lessons that are so much needed.

One Sunday morning a stranger came in the door of our church and I hurried over to welcome him and introduce myself, because I was the Preacher! The man was dressed in the dress of the time, which consisted of a three piece suit and his hair was styled and sprayed in place, a hurricane could not have moved one hair. When I proudly told him that I was the pastor, he looked at me with what I now recognize is a condescending smirk of a smile and proclaimed to me, “Young man I have been the way for thirty years!”

Folks you know what I found out about that carefully manicured individual, he was absolutely correct, he had been in the way of everything God had tried to do in his vicinity for thirty years. He caused trouble from day one.

Well here I go again, I am afraid and don’t have any idea as to what to do. So hard headed as I was, I started to humble my heart and pray and fast. God moved that rascal right out of the way and we started growing again.

Then I had a song leader, well that’s what the folk at the church told he was. I had serious doubts about his ability the first time I heard him sing, well I should say the first time I heard him try to sing. He couldn’t carry a tune in a water bucket, but he was there before I arrived and if you know anything about churches, well he continued in his attempts to lead music. The amazing thing is God still blessed and the church continued to grow.

Now as bad as this mans choir directing was he did have one asset that he was great at, he was a first class trouble maker!

I told you about the Sunday morning that we had four adults saved during the altar call. While I was praying with and sharing scripture with the folks that were there to born again, he was trying to lead the invitational hymn. This man stopped in the middle of the song and started to call unsaved folks names and say to them “Ya’ll know you is lost, ya’ll better git up yar and git righ wif ta Lord!”

I was appalled to say the least, folks you don’t accomplish anything by embarrassing sinners in church. I quickly took over the service and had the four that were saved to make public profession of the salvation and then asked the folks to file past and shake their hand and welcome them to the family of God.

That afternoon I visited with my neighbor who was one that he named and I apologized for the song leaders lack of what I thought was common sense. The dear man was much older than I. In those days everyone was older me, but he told me “Preacher, I like you and I am going to give you some advice. Every preacher that has come to our community and tried to build this church up has run into the same problem. That problem being and he named the song leader. He said, preacher if you try to buck him, you will move before six months has passed. I know what I am telling you preacher, cause I have seen it before”, he said.

Well here we go again, I got scared, my mind was troubled and I could not sleep and get any rest. So what did I do, well I once again went to my Heavenly Father in fasting and prayer. I prayed a bold prayer, I said, “Lord, move him and I named him or kill him”. Now wait a minute, don’t stop reading now. Some times that is what God will do when someone comes between Him and His children. There are many accounts in the Bible of just that happening. May I remind you of David and Goliath.

My praying started on Sunday and I did not eat, or drink until Wednesday night after mid-week prayer meeting. When our people began to arrive on Wednesday evening, I saw this song leader’s wife and daughter come in, but he wasn’t with them. I stepped over to welcome them and casually asked where is brother_____? They both began to weep and say, “Preacher can we go in the back room and talk?” I responded, “Yes of course”, and lead this dear lady and her adult daughter to where we could speak privately.

Here is the story, the wife said, “Pastor I had placed our evening meal on the table and went outside to call my husband and daughter to eat.” She broke down even more as as did the daughter also. After they had regained some composure, she said “Pastor, he, ______, began to curse and tell us he would never set foot back in that church again as long as he lived”. She said, “Pastor he took God’s name in vain over and over”.

The church continued to grow and I never saw him in the service but once until I moved on to another work.

What is my point in this? Dear folks we don’t have to be seminary educated! We don’t have to be gifted, in song and music? We don’t have to be a great orator! We don’t have to have any particular skill what so ever! We don’t have to be a skilled organizer! We do not have to be one of the world’s greatest salesmen!

What we do have to have, in order to do the work of God is to have a lower opinion of our abilities and a higher opinion of God’s ability. We do have to humble our hearts before God and realize that the work is His and we are just tools in His hand.

Are you discouraged? Are you considering quitting? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the task before you?

Have you humbled your heart and tried fasting and praying. Have you as was done of old, gotten a hold on the horns of the alter of God.

He loves you my friend and is just now waiting to lift you up and bless you beyond all imagination.

It is up to you!

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 48:17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I [am] the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way [that] thou shouldest go.

James Avery


The Humble of Heart