Father’s Day will soon be upon us and there are lessons we can all learn from good fathers like I was blessed with. My father, Jack Wilson, was a man of few words and one of the humblest men I’ve ever known. His life taught me an important lesson on humility and I think it will speak to you too.
My father grew up very poor. He knew if he were to attend college, he would have to work hard to get a sports scholarship. Eventually a scout from Baylor University heard about Dad and offered him a full ride. At Baylor, he became an All-American football player, played pro ball, and even set the javelin record at Baylor University which he held for over twenty years. His picture appeared in ads and a chapter in a book about great American football players. He also proudly served his county in WW II. Returning from the war, he became a football and track coach at Baylor. He became like a father to many of the young players. In 1968, he was inducted into Baylor’s Hall of Fame and went on to lead a colorful life.
Dad was a strict disciplinarian, and it was very difficult for him to verbalize how proud of us he was. He often greeted our friends with smiles and hugs, but as children, we had to initiate affection with him. As a young child I often sat at his feet while he combed my long blonde tangled hair. He only allowed us small glimpses into his tender heart.
Over twenty years ago, Dad walked into the arms of Jesus and I still miss him. Upon his death, we received many phone calls from men he had coached. To our surprise, we found out many things he had done behind-the-scenes to help those in need. Pastors and friends asked to speak at his funeral and drove long distances to honor him.
As a child, my father taught me if I accomplished something, the compliments do not come from me publicizing them, but from others noticing. Before his death I asked my father to expound on some of his rewards and accomplishments, but he refused, saying he did not need the glory; he gave all the credit to others and to the Lord.
As the Proverbs say, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” and “A man is tested by his praise” (27:2, 21). Humility is “the quality or state of being modest and lacking in pride or arrogance.” The Lord honors humility and gives honor to those who lift others up.
“A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.”
“Whoever humbles himself as a child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
When God isn’t given the glory for people’s accomplishments, pride can raise its ugly head and it becomes an “all about me” show. Social media can become like this very easily. Jesus never expounded on all the miracles He performed: he opened the blind man’s eyes, healed the bleeding woman, made the lame man walk, cleansed a leper, turned water into wine, and raised the dead—all without wanting any accolades for it. If anyone had a reason to expound on his accomplishments, it was Jesus. He always gave God the glory and needed none of it for himself.
“Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves.” —Philippines 2:3 TPT.
My dad had flaws as we all do, but he modeled humility. Not all dads are a good role model. As we celebrate our fathers for Father’s Day, let’s applaud them as they have lifted others—and remember that humility brings favor in God’s eyes.
Lord, if I am not humble in any area of my life, please show me. I desire to be your humbled servant to the world. I am humbled by all You do in my life and my family’s life. My accomplishments are from you guiding and directing me. My desire is to give You all the praise and not raise myself up. All my talents are a gift from You that I want to use in order to glorify You. Help me to put into practice Philippians 2:3-11. Thank You Lord. Amen.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. —Philippians 2: 3-11