Solomon’s sayings have a refreshing definition of humility.
Today the summary of Solomon’s sayings point overwhelmingly toward one virtue, humility. From the early portion of the chapter:
6 Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
or stand in the place of the great,
7 for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.
Part of this thinking just seems to be commonsense pragmatism, something that tends to be missing in our world today. We are so often focused on letting others know what we are doing, who we are, why they should be thinking of us, how they should look at us, etc. This perspective instead places the importance of others first, and allows for recognition that is genuine, and comes from a place higher than ourselves. Of course in most of our democratic societies today, we don’t have a king, but we do have forms of kings in our lives. Be it your parent, employer, pastor, teacher, or manager, we all have someone in authority over us on a regular basis. Next time you are in the presence of one of those “kings” in your life, think about their needs, their position first, and ask yourself if what you are about to do or say places them first, or you first. Solomon gives a sharp warning about putting yourself first before your king:
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.
15 With patience a ruler may be persuaded,
and a soft tongue will break a bone.
He also indicates that it may take time before you are recognized, patience and humility tend to walk hand in hand. Today, humility may be the first piece you need to add to your character if you want to eventually have a place in influencing the “kings” of your life.