The gospel is a great humbler, empowering us with such confidence that we become clear-minded about ourselves, as Paul urges in Romans 12:3. Compare and contrast these two stories.
A few years ago, I was checking in at the airport for an overseas flight. I was carrying an expensive television camera, and I didn’t really want to check it. I asked the woman at the check-in counter if there was any way I could take it on board with me.
“No, I’m sorry,” she said. “Our policy is very strict. If a carry-on doesn’t fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment, it must be checked.”
I understood that. She was following the rules. But I also knew that the favor of God can make exceptions, so I respectfully asked her, “Is there anybody else I can talk to about taking my camera on board?”
She said, “No, I’m sorry; there’s no use. There’s no way you’re going to take your camera on board.”
About that time, a man dressed in a captain’s uniform approached me. I didn’t know him, had never seen him before, but he walked right up to me and asked, “How can I help you?”
“I’m trying to take my camera on board,” I said, “so it doesn’t get all beat up with the checked luggage.”
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I’m going to New Delhi, India, to meet my father,” I replied.
“Really?” he said as he raised his eyebrows. “That’s the flight I’m in charge of.” He then said, “When you get on board, just bring the camera up to me, and I’ll put it right behind the cockpit.”
The woman behind the counter glared at me and shook her head, clearly aggravated. I just smiled and said, “Sorry, ma’am; it’s the favor of God.”
. . . The favor of God can cause people to make exceptions for you. Think about it. What caused that captain to come up to me in the midst of that busy airport? . . . The favor of God.
– Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now
In 1966 I joined Operation Mobilization for a year of ministry in France, but spent two years in India instead. While in London that summer, at the one-month OM orientation, I volunteered to work on a clean-up crew late one night.
Around 12:30am I was sweeping the front steps of the Conference Centre when an older gentleman approached and asked if this was the OM conference. I told him it was, but most everyone was in bed.
He had a small bag with him and was dressed very simply. He said he was attending the conference, so I said, “Let me see if I can find you a place to sleep.” Since there were many different age groups at OM, I thought he was an older OM’er.
I took him to the room where I had been sleeping on the floor with about 50 others and, seeing that he had nothing to sleep on, laid some padding and a blanket on the floor and used a towel for a pillow. He said it would be fine and he appreciated it very much.
As he was preparing for bed, I asked him if he had eaten. He had not as he had been travelling all day. I took him to the dining room but it was locked. So after picking the lock I found cornflakes, milk, bread, butter and jam—all of which he appreciated very much.
As he ate, we began to fellowship. I asked where he was from. He said he and his wife had been working in Switzerland for several years in a ministry mainly to hippies and travellers. It was wonderful to talk with him and hear about his work and those who had come to Christ. When he finished eating, we turned in for the night.
However, the next day I was in trouble! The leaders of OM really “got on my case.” “Don’t you know who that man is on the floor next to you?” they asked. “It is Dr. Francis Schaeffer, the speaker for the conference!”
I did not know they were going to have a speaker, nor did I know who Francis Schaeffer was, nor did I know they had a special room prepared for him!
After Francis Schaeffer became well known because of his books, and I had read more about him, I thought about this occasion many times—this gracious, kind, humble man of God sleeping on the floor with OM recruits! This was the kind of man I wanted to be.
– Doug Nichols, “Francis Schaeffer slept here,” shared by Randy Alcorn
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
– Romans 12:3
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
– 1 Peter 5:5b