If you want to be humble, never forget where you came from and where you are going. Before the United States Supreme Court moved into its sumptuous, $9 million marble edifice in 1935, it carried on its work in a small basement room within the Capitol building. After the building’s completion, the justices expressed their disdain for its magnificent size and appearance. Harlan Fiske Stone complained it was “almost bombastically pretentious . . . wholly inappropriate for a quiet group of old boys such as the Supreme Court.” Justice Brandeis made the poignant reflection, “our little room kept us humble.”
Considering the significance of the Supreme Court justices’ work, they have certainly earned the right to a building of their own. But does the ornate Supreme Court Building in which they work mean they can no longer be humble? Not necessarily. That is because humility is a state of mind, not a setting.
The historic achievements of the Supreme Court must be kept in proper perspective. There is a long, difficult path each member has taken to reach the position of influence he or she enjoys. Each decision which is made has the potential of altering the course of the United States’ history — for better or worse. The great privileges the justices enjoy are balanced with the great responsibilities of their respective offices. To whom much is given much is required. Understanding this principle keeps them humble.
The same should be true in your life. You don’t have to frown upon wealth, achievement, or promotion to stay humble — just keep these blessings in the right perspective. Remember where you were when you started off and how God brought you to this point. Then use the resources and blessings God has provided to help you follow Him to the next point. To whom much is given much is required. It takes humility to realize and accept this.
The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk. — Cicero
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.