“Wow! That’s incredible – I’ve never heard of anything like that!” remarked Billy Graham as he listened intently to the pastor sitting across from him. “How did you do such a thing?” The pastor gushed – the infamous Billy Graham, who helped 3.2 million people reach salvation, how he baptized 300 people. Baptizing 300 people is no small feat, and Billy Graham understood that – but more importantly, Billy Graham is humble, and understands the virtue of honor.
In today’s Western civilization, we are very much centered on the “I”ndividual. In and of itself, individuality is not a bad thing – we appreciate natural rights, equality, and the importance on human life; these are all positive things that we only see in western civilization. However, at the same time, America has developed a serious issue – pride. We like to embrace the notion that because we have a title, car, house, or job – that we are somehow better than others. While these things can be nice, they ultimately have no meaning or value; our titles, material possessions, and social status will fade away.
Pride feels good, for a little bit. It makes one feel superior and important, until somebody with a higher status, a nicer car, or a bigger house comes along. Pride will always leave a god-sized hole in our hearts. Billy Graham, on top of the Christian world, fully understood this. Billy Graham understood that he was no greater in God’s eyes than any other man, and was generous in giving honor to those around him. Not only did this bless the other person, but it kept his eyes focused on God and not himself.
Pride is a dangerous animal, especially for the Christian man. As men, we will be tempted to fall into pride, covetousness, and jealousy. We are providers, we are competitive, and we want to control our environment. The bible says “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)
It is by focusing our eyes on God, not on the world, that we can defeat pride. Putting ones’ self below others, and realizing that God created us all as equals, is the quintessence of humility. Honoring others, no matter how large or small their achievement (especially compared to your own achievements) is a huge step towards humility, away from pride. Deep down, I think Billy Graham truly understood the value of honoring others’ achievements. He realized how easy it would be to fall into pride – to undo all of the work God had done within and through him. Instead, he chooses to enthusiastically give honor to every single person he meets. That is the key for all of us – not to boast in our own achievements, but to boast about others’ achievements. This is how we ‘Beat The World’.
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Phil 2:3)