Wise Humility: A Lesson from Dad

A few weeks ago (on Mother’s Day) I posted about how my mom has been a powerful example to me of God’s unconditional love and a constant reminder of it throughout my life. Today, being Father’s Day, it only seemed right to pay tribute to that other most influential figure in my life – my dad.

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There are obviously a lot of things that I could share that I have learned from my dad: how to throw, how to catch, how to continue to make the same jokes after they aren’t funny anymore to such an extent that they become funny again. But as I’ve been thinking about what I look up to most in my dad, the answer is quite obvious – his humility.

My dad is a very capable individual and he is good at what he does. The self-discipline he exhibits in order to continually juggle his many plates is admirable. When he left his last job, they brought in three people to cover what he had been doing. As I’ve grown to realize his capacities and abilities, I have repeatedly (and only semi-jokingly) asked my dad when he’s going to apply to be the President (or some other high-ranking executive) of his school. To which, consistently, he slightly chuckles and just shakes his head. He really has no interest in the position because power is honestly something he is not interested in. It’s always nice to say power doesn’t hold attraction for us, but to see it actually, tangibly lived out is powerful. Because, frankly, most days, the more authority and autonomy I can get, the better. Of course, this is why this lesson from my dad is something that stands out so powerfully.

It’s also part of why my dad’s books have not sold as well as they might have. Because he is a terrible self-promoter. It’s not for lack of ability, he just doesn’t like to do it. He recognizes that following Jesus is not about putting your name out there, but about putting his name out there.

False humility could certainly produce the same fruit. However, my dad models not false humility but wise humility. He is sensitive to the Spirit to recognize within himself that going down the avenue of self-promotion and the pursuit of power would be detrimental. It is humility that has been formed over years of seeking to be like Christ.

This is not just a lesson to me, but a prophetic one, confronting me in the deepest parts of myself. Perhaps you’re like me; too often we want power, more than we want Christ. We want others to love and affirm us rather than turn to Scripture for its affirmation. My dad models what (on my good days) I desire to be and reminds me of what I ought to want on those bad days when I let pride rule.

Dad, you’re not just a teacher, but a prophet; thanks for your example of wise humility both to me and others. May we all learn from it.

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3 thoughts on “Wise Humility: A Lesson from Dad

  1. Hey Matthew, as one of your dad’s sisters, I loved reading your latest blog. Your words were generous, gracious….and so true! Sending love, as always, Aunty Elaine x

  2. Love it Matt! I have a lot to learn from your dad too. In an audiobook I’m listening to, Dallas Willard just called me out for having “arrogant humility”. Oops. And I work pretty hard at self-promotion.

    Dr. Timms, thanks for raising a great son!

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