God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (1 Pet. 5:5)
STEPHEN AMBROSE was a historian and author of several best-sellers, notably biographies of presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. When Ambrose was a student, he handed in the first chapter of his dissertation on Emery Upton, a Civil War general. He expected the professor to compliment his work.
Instead, when Ambrose asked him about it, the professor said, “When I was on the farm back in Virginia, and a snake would sneak into the henhouse to eat some eggs, I’d be sent to kill the snake. Then I would skin it and hang the skin on the henhouse door, to scare away all other snakes.”
When Ambrose asked what that had to do with his chapter, the professor said, “Look.” There, tacked to the back of the professor’s office door, was Ambrose’s chapter. Scribbled across the pages were the professor’s comments, which he summed up as, “Let that be a warning to you. Don’t ever hand in a chapter like this again.”
Many of us have had experiences when we thought we would be praised but were humbled instead. Such experiences teach us that we have much to learn.
God has little tolerance for pride. Instead, He urges us to clothe ourselves with humility and He generously “gives grace to the humble.”
Don’t wait for God to humble you; humble yourself.
Ron McClung serves as assistant general secretary for The Wesleyan Church and lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife, Carol. They have two sons, nine grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.