Several years ago, an article in the Las Vegas Sun described Tre’Von Willis as “perhaps the most animated and talkative UNLV basketball player.” But, after his first few weeks of major college basketball, the article said that he had learned, “Elite Division-I basketball can humble a young man.” Willis agreed. “Yeah, it’s very humbling,” said Willis, a reserve point guard. “I’ve learned a lot. There are things I can do and things I can’t do, things not to try . . . when to set up the offense, when to be aggressive. I’m just going to keep looking forward to being on the court and having a more productive role.” Most of the time, humbling experiences are not the same thing as humiliation. While humiliation tends to be destructive, the humbling experiences of life are instructive—teaching us to have a realistic view of ourselves (including what we can and cannot do) and to do our best within that understanding.
The apostle Paul wrote to followers of Christ in Rome to remind them of the same thing: “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). The key is to see ourselves accurately and realistically; and the game of life humbles us for that very purpose. Humbling experiences teach us that, in ourselves, we are not adequate for all we will face in this life, and this valuable perspective allows us to understand that (1) we need Christ desperately, and, (2) we need one another personally. Once we recognize that we are not “all that,” we will be able to face the challenges of life realistically, dependent upon Christ and helping one another.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain