There was once a preacher who was always quiet and reserved outside of the pulpit. He never interrupted, always listened, and always showed an honest interest in the problems of others. He was truly a humble man. The congregation thought so much of him that they decided to give him a medal, proclaiming him the most humble man in the world. The man took the medal graciously, and then pinned it to his suit jacket. It was then that the congregation took it away.
We may laugh or giggle at such made-up stories, but if we are all honest with ourselves, odds are we’d love to be surrounded with humble people. Humility (the act of being humble) is a trait that seems to be missing from much of the world today. Oftentimes, when it is present, it is mistaken for shyness. People want to be recognized; they want their deeds to be noticed–even if it isn’t much of a deed. For example, many husbands make it a point to let their wives know that they ran the dishwasher, or picked up a single piece of trash off the floor. They long to be noticed for what they do.
If we could get it through our heads that God does recognize what we do here on earth, then perhaps we wouldn’t be seeking for praise from men. After all, Jesus warned, “don’t be like the Pharisees who do things to be seen by others. I tell you for certain, they have their reward.”
There was a man in the Bible that had things he could brag about, but he didn’t. His name is Judas–but we know him better as Jude. He was the blood-relative (half-brother) of Jesus Christ. Jude knew Jesus before He became famous, before He began preaching. Jude was also a convert to Christ before the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14). Jude was a preacher of notable importance, even being referenced by the apostle Paul as an example (I Cor. 9:5). Jude was inspired by God to write Scripture! If anyone had things he could boast about, it was Jude.
However, Jude was a humble person. When he wrote his inspired letter, he didn’t say, “this is Jude, the brother of Jesus, the one who’s been a Christian longer than any of you.” Instead, he identified himself as Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ, and the brother of James. He could have identified himself as a famous preacher, but instead identified himself as a slave. He could have boasted about having grown up knowing Jesus as his brother, but instead identifies himself as the brother of James. He does this not as bragging, but simply as a way to identify himself with someone they knew.
Many people view the first verse of Jude as simply a greeting. I view it as an amazing example of humility that we all should emulate.