Electricity, Me, and Humility

There was the time when I tried to help do some electrical work in our church’s sanctuary. Yep! You just know this isn’t going to turn out well, don’t you?

The center light in one of the fixtures in the sanctuary wasn’t working. A man from our church, Tim, was high up on a step ladder, having just replaced the bulb. It still didn’t work. I said to Tim, “Tim, I wonder if that little tab in the center of the socket isn’t making contact with the center of the light bulb. I think you need to reach in there and pull that down a bit. Don’t worry,” I said, “I turned off the lights.” In my defense, I had made certain I had pushed the switch to the off position.

Tim proceeded to stick his finger in the socket. Now, this is where I learned an important lesson about electrical wiring. Apparently when you have two sets of on and off switches, as our church sanctuary did, the power to the socket is not necessarily off when the one switch is turned off. I did not know this. Tim quickly pulled his hand back with a yelp. I was shocked!

What I learned from this is that you have to know your limits! The shocking truth is that I’m no electrician!

It was a reminder to me that we can’t know everything and do everything. Humility is the operative word here. No one likes to be around a “know it all” person. It’s the humble who have true friends.

Even God can’t be close to someone who isn’t humble before Him. To have God be significant in our lives requires that we humbly know our limits. This opens us up to God’s help, direction, forgiveness and all the other amazing things only He can ultimately provide.

The book of Proverbs states that “when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2) The apostle Peter, who early on as a follower of Jesus was a sort of “know it all” kind of guy, wrote, and it’s in our Bibles, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:5b-6)

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