Smell the Roses…

Ben Schoettel   -  


I’m going to start this devotional with a confession: I often struggle with appreciating the little things. What do I mean? I am a details person. I am good at working out little details. I am good at remember little details. What I am not good at is looking at all the small things in life, including the little things I do, and allowing space to say “this is good, thanks God.”

Regarding humility, as we heard from Sunday, we have an understanding of this being further described as a spiritual humility. From the wisdom of scripture, we can see that “humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. Humility is an attitude of spiritual modesty that comes from being rooted in who God is, not in who you aren’t. “

The two opposing forces that tug our hearts out of a humble posture before the Lord is pride and fear. That deadly combination is constantly causing us to question whether we are enough.

In the story of Gideon (as with many of the biblical stories) humble trust in God still ends up producing amazing and often unbelievable results. 300 scaring off 135,000 is a pretty big legacy.

So, with that acknowledgement, another question came to mind. What if I know that I am enough because God is enough, but I don’t feel like that’s enough? Example: How often is it easy to look at something in our lives and think “meh…”? Or, how often is it easy to even look at something that we have done and think “meh…”? When we respond to people’s acknowledgements and thankfulness with “oh, it was nothing”, that may feel like the humble thing to do, but if what happened was good, and our intent was humble/pure, is our minimization of ourselves an unintentional minimization of God??

I think it’s been said before in one of these devotionals but there is truth to the old children’s hymn “little is much when God is in it.” If we are always looking for mountaintops, we won’t find beauty along the trails.

This is not meant as a guilt trip either, but an encouragement to pair our humility that says, “it’s not me it’s God” with the joy that says, “did we just see what God did today??”

And as we have seen in the stories within the story of the Bible, Jesus is working in all these things (big or small) for His good will and purposes.

The redemption of the world is no doubt a mountaintop. But Jesus already said that was in His hands. We get to be the ones that point out what Jesus is doing with our words and actions that say “Can you believe how good God is?? See how awesome it is to feel God’s love??”

But for us to get to that place, where humility and joy collide, we must take the advice of Paul and count it all joy. Not in a willfully ignorant way. In a faithful and thankful way.

Here are just some of the examples I can think of from the past week that I need to remember as gifts of God’s goodness for the giver and receiver when I take the time to smell the roses along the Way.

Hugging a family member or friend, singing a song with someone, laughing over a meal, visiting residents at a care facility, praying for someone, caring for a garden, cheering on the kids at Challenger’s League (which from the mouth of a parent, “well done good and faithful servants for being the hands of feet of Jesus…”), greeting someone in the church lobby, making that phone call, making a kid’s day, receiving/giving a gift of appreciation, and so on and so on…

I am not saying it is easy, because we are still human. But if we can let go of pride and fear, it not only leads to us being more humble, I believe it also leads us to being more joyful. Because the map to the mountain we keep in front of our eyes is torn in two… leaving us aware of all of the beauty that the goodness of God has to offer.