Kimball Boyd Coburn

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Hungry and Humble

I really like to watch Rafael Nadal play tennis. He plays like he’s hungry and he acts like he’s humble. His uncle, who is his coach, told him when he was a boy, “always be hungry and humble.” Rafael is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time

Rafael Nadal

© 2008 axiomphotog, Creative Commons

I would love to see us, the Church, take on this way of thinking and acting – hungry and humble. The opposite of hungry and humble is fat and sassy, or full and satisfied, or spoiled and jaded. Are we fat with the “isms‟– institutionalism and denominationalism? Are we spoiled by money and organization that doesn’t seem to require excellence?

When I think back to Methodism in America, I can almost feel the pulse of the people, hungry to hear and learn. and humbled to go and share with others. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness.” He was teaching us that God wants us to be generous, to speak for justice and work for the good of others. Jesus also said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” God blesses us when we step back from our ego driven lives and assume the discipline of humility and obedience.

Congregations who are hungry and humble are very noticeable. They have a joy that’s missing in far too many churches.

Recently, I was visiting a church. I felt the liturgy was meaningful, the choir sang on key, and the preaching was well constructed with solid theological content. But there was no joy.

2011 BNP Paribas Open Final

© 2011 astroot, Creative Commons

I miss joy in our churches. Joy isn’t jokes and jumpy songs. It’s the feeling that God is with us. A feeling God is real, alive and lifting our spirits. And yes, good preaching and good music are important parts of a joyful worship service when they touch a nerve or spark a feeling. Joy goes deep. It causes us to dream, it moves us to discipleship. It creates celebration and thankfulness for life.

Why is it that hungry and humble churches are joyous churches? It’s because they are churches that are reviving and renewing their spirits and rethinking their ministry. In their humble surroundings, they see the words of Jesus come to life. They are willing to witness for righteousness and are grateful for the privilege to do so. Their people are disciples of Christ, not just members on the rolls. They experience meaning and joy through getting in touch with God’s purpose for their lives. They become a part of the building of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.

God is calling you to be hungry and humble. It won’t make you number one in the world but it will make you the best Christian you can be. If you decide to respond to the Call today, I promise you that Joy will come in the morning and for the rest of your life.


Kimball, S.E.

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