The Pop Quiz

Our Church On a Hill: Trabuco Canyon Community Church.

Humility. Hmm.

Yesterday we made our way up the narrow road to our small hillside church home. The sun shone, our pastor and his family had returned from a trip, it was Communion day. All was well.
At the service’s beginning we rose and greeted our fellow congregants. We prayed together. We sang in worship. We shared in the Lord’s Supper. Pastor Robert delivered a stunning sermon on humility, teaching us from the first verses of Matthew 18. He discussed the worldly value on self-confidence. 
I listened, but didn’t feel stung: Of course I place my confidence in God, not in myself. Of course great things result from His hand, not mine. I bear a generous portion of flaws and shortcomings, but I don’t generally count pride as one of them. After all, my mother was a model of humility. And aren’t I a lot like her? 
After the service we settled in the fellowship hall to enjoy a brownie and coffee while we visited with other members of our church. We’ve attended at Trabuco Canyon Community Church for less than a year, so we’re still putting faces with names. Fellowship time is a good opportunity to meet more church members, or learn more about the ones we know.
A woman approached Rich and me. “Hi,” she said to me. “I’m Susanne.” She went on to tell me how much she enjoyed reading Godspotting. I thanked her for her kind words, and she left.
And then I noticed this smell. It seemed to be rising from a hard spot in my heart, and it stunk
Because I hadn’t said to Susanne, “It’s an offering to Him.” 
I hadn’t said, “I’m humbled by your kind words. But it’s really just an act of obedience.”
I’d just soaked up her praise as if it were meant for me.
Last night I spent some time in Matthew 18. And I think when the podcast of yesterday’s sermon is posted on our church’s website, I am going to listen again. 
I’ll be praying it stings me. 

 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 

Matthew 18:1-6 (NASB)

I’m linking up today with Michelle DeRusha at Graceful for Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday. I hope you’ll drop by.


  1. Stacy @ Heartprints of God

    As much as I don't like getting "stung" by God's word, I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit and it's stinging power in my life. The closer I get to God the more my sinfulness is revealed, the more I am humbled by the beauty of who He is, the more I praise Him for His gift of salvation~

    Thank you for these words, this day-

  2. Stacy,
    I'm right with you. I think of the stinging like medicine: It isn't pleasant to receive, but it's necessary to continued health.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Sheila, I think your humility is evident throughout this place. It permeates your words. But I know what you mean, sometimes I forget that it's all for Him too.

    I did miss you this past weekend! For some reason, I thought you were planning on coming, and I was sorely disappointed. But maybe another time? God has plans, you know. And yes, I felt you there. Love to you, lady.

  4. Oooh, such moments do sting, but I agree with you: the stinging, the stinking, catches my attention and actually feels good when it motivates me to surrender more of my life to God. Thanks for your honesty and humility today. You are a good role model for me and your readers.


  5. Ah, I think this post was meant for me, Sheila.

    My pastor preached out of Psalm 33, yesterday, and talked (in part) about how our talents should be used only for God's agenda, not our own. I'm still thinking on that.

    You're very special to me. Thank you for this post.

  6. Wow this is a wonderful post! Hits me right at home too. I was stung when a young man asked me, “How is the Hazel Moon show, doing? That is the way he perceived my blog and I wondered if I was actually following God's direction or was it all about me? I love your posts, and it does pay to sometimes tell it like it is!

  7. Laura,
    It's so kind of you to say so. It really is all for Him, you know? At least as much as my selfish heart can muster…

    There. That's truth.

    I so wanted to be with you all. I am hopeful for next year. Love to you, too, dear friend.

  8. Linda,
    You're a model for me. I've learned to appreciate the sting–at least sometimes–but I cannot honestly say it feels "good." Yet.

  9. Brandee,
    Thank you. That comment humbles me immensely.

    And I need humbling, these days.

    You have a special place here, too. And it isn't that hard stinking corner of my heart 😉

  10. Oh, Hazel.


    Oh. What a thing to say? I would have 800 questions if someone said that to me.

    I'm betting you were more gracious.

  11. Michelle DeRusha@Graceful

    Oh yes, Sheila, I've stood in those shoes, basking in the praise, drinking it in…only to realize later, with a pit in my stomach, that I certainly wasn't very humble and I certainly didn;t give the credit to him. A point well-taken, my dear friend!

  12. Michelle,
    I know that pit. Thank you for coming by…and thank you for hosting!

  13. Sometimes, Sheila, it's Ok to say thank you. I think the person who made the ocmment and the Lord both know the purpose and point of your blog.

  14. Thank you, Glynn. It's a hard balance for me. I never want to be ungracious.

    I also don't want to claim glory for myself.

  15. I agree with both you and Glynn. Sometimes we do need to be humbled and reminded of the Source of our strength, but I do sense in your words that it is all unto the Lord. And, yes, you were deeply missed. Hope you can make it next year–and I hope they'll let me come back 🙂

  16. Nancy, Thank you.

    I cannot imagine that they wouldn't…but should that unimaginable circumstance arrive, I shall smuggle you in in my duffle bag.

  17. Sheila, I am constantly overwhelmed by your humility. I shows. And blesses.

  18. As do you, Deidra.

    As do you.

  19. Sandra Heska King

    Thanks for the reminder that it's not about me but all about Him.

    I agree with Glynn, Sheila. Saying thank you is a good response. If we focus too much on the "shouldas," we tend to get our focus off Him.

    You have a heart of humility. There's no doubt who gets the glory.

    I wish you'd been there. 🙁

  20. Thank you, Sandy.

    Those are good words for me to remember, about the focus.

    My heart was there. Hopefully next year the rest of me can tag along.

  21. Tammy@If Meadows Speak...

    As much as I fear the sting, it's the VERY thing that humbles me. In an instant, from zero to 60 in a heavenly minute. Oh how I could relate to this post and dare I say, look forward to more stinging moments (the way to purge myself, of self). 🙂

  22. Found you through Michelle and enjoyed your honesty and reflection on why we do this writing. It is all about Him. Thanks!

  23. Found you through Michelle. Enjoyed your honesty and reflection on why we do this writing. It is all about Him!

  24. Tammy,
    Thanks for stopping by. I guess it's time to worry when we no longer feel the sting, hmmm?

  25. Shelly,
    Thanks! So glad you came by. Aren't we blessed by Michelle?