Marriage,  Parenting,  The Virtuous Life

The Virtuous Life: What I Learned About Humility from Charles Ingalls

We’re continuing our series on The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife. Today is part two in the discussion on the virtue of humility. It’s also our final installment on the series. See the table of contents at the end of this post. 

Humility. The heart of the matter is serving each other in love, isn’t it? So why do we complicate things so much?

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

C.S. Lewis put it this way, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

The opposite of humility would be egotism, otherwise known as being self-centered. Our society feeds off this mindset. People are driven by a desire for fame, applause, and the admiration of their peers. We want to leave our mark in this world, and the bigger the mark–the better.

I’m reminded of an episode of Little House on the Prairie. (Yeah, I’m a big Little House fan *wink*) After Charles builds a folding leaf table, he sets out to have it mass produced. He was willing to give up everything they had worked for to pursue this dream, including their home. Thankfully he runs into some trouble and chooses a better direction.

Near the end of the episode he’s sitting back in his chair talking to a friend when he says, “You know why I started all this? All this work? Because I wanted to be remembered. My initials on a piece of furniture–I wanted strangers to remember me. I wasn’t even giving my own children a chance to remember me.”

I saw that episode in 1982 and it stuck with me to this day. Whenever I’m self-centered and concerned about what I want in this life my thoughts go back to that mark on the table. I’m reminded of what’s important in this world–love.

The greatest line from the episode is when Caroline says, “If it’s a legacy you’re after Charles, you can’t do better than our children.”

That speaks volumes to me. We can’t do better than to love and serve the people God has put in our lives, can we?

You see, leaving a mark on this world is different than leaving a mark on the heart of another. Whether it’s loving our children, our spouse, a sick parent or friend… we can’t do better than love.

I remember the night I found out that our book hit the New York Times best-sellers list. I was so excited that I could barely dial the phone. It was an honor. But does it matter? Does any of this matter? Do I really need to make my mark on the world?

No.

I matter to a God who loved me before I loved Him. One who cared enough to send His son to die for my sins so that I might live. He’s all that matters. There isn’t a red carpet, a trophy, or a list that could elevate us to a place any higher than that.

And YOU matter. Right where you are; right at this moment. You were created and are loved by an almighty God. That’s what really matters in this mixed-up world of fame and fortune. Purpose is found in those quiet moments when no one but God sees the work of your hands.

The day will come when we take our last breath, bow for the last curtain call, and leave this world on our journey to home. And when that day comes self gratification will be nothing but dust in the wind.

It’s His mark I desire to leave on this world–not my own.

You are loved by an almighty God,

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The schedule for this series
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2 – Purity Pt. 1
Week 2 – Purity Pt. 2
Week 3 – Self Control Pt. 1
Week 3 – Self Control Pt. 2
Week 4 – Love Pt. 1
Week 4 – Love Pt. 2
Week 5 – Diligence Pt. 1
Week 5 – Diligence Pt. 2
Week 6 – Patience Pt. 1
Week 6 – Patience Pt. 2
Week 7 – Kindness Pt. 1
Week 7 – Kindness Pt. 2
Week 8 – Humility Pt. 1
Week 8 – Humility Pt. 2

2 Comments

  • Sheila Edeliant

    Love this! I don’t think I have ever heard that particular CS Lewis quote before — it is a good one, for sure.

    These very principles are something my hubby and I have been working hard on lately. It can be challenging at times; but we are *so* much happier when we keep our priorities in order. And that is especially true when we are doing that *together*. What a blessing. 🙂

    Thanks, Darlene. I appreciate your blog!

  • Jaimie Ramsey

    This is absolutely beautiful. I love “Little House,” too, although I don’t think I’ve ever seen that episode. Thank you for the reminder to keep all things in perspective. It doesn’t matter if I ever become a well-known author or blogger or not: it does matter that in everything I do, Christ is central and honored and worshiped, and that I point others to him instead of myself.

    Thank you for this!

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