Years ago, the legendary football coach of the Miami Dolphins, Don Shula, was vacationing in Maine with his wife and five children. One rainy afternoon, they went to the town’s only movie theater. When they walked in, there were only six people in the entire theatre. However, every person stood up and applauded the Shulas. As Don and his family sat down, a man ran up and shook Don’s hand. “How did you recognize me?” Don asked. “Mister” the man replied, “I don’t know you from
Adam. All I know is that just before your family walked in, the manager said that unless five more people showed up, we wouldn’t have a movie today.” If that sort of experience doesn’t humble you, I guess nothing will. And humility is certainly a fitting subject for prayer and reflection during Lent. Are we humble in the sight of God? What does that mean? It means principally recognizing that we are dependent on God for everything. Every breath we take, every morning we wake up, every talent we have, all is ultimately a gift from him. While God expects us to work with and develop his gifts and leaves us free to do so or not, none of us is truly self-sufficient or self-dependent. When Jesus says, “Whoever makes himself great will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be made great”, he is urging us to see ourselves honestly and recognize that we are children of a loving Father on whom we depend for life and all that sustains it. Our basic stance in life then is not to pat ourselves on the back for all we achieve, but to be grateful for all we have been given.