Hidden Blessings of Humble Living
Articles From The Caring Heart with Dr. Joyce from Spokane Washington

Dr. Joyce The Caring Heart Spokane, Wa.

“Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.”  (Proverbs 16:19)

Why is it better to be of a humble spirit, as the above scripture exhorts?  Do the benefits and blessings of humble living radiate outward, far beyond the particular humble individuals?  Does such living make a real difference - a substantial difference – in the world we, and all other creatures, live in? 

I recently finished reading The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom – 1879-1960, written by Douglas Brinkley.  Very well-written, the book covers the relationship between the incredibly awesome and immense Alaskan world and mankind.  Within the book’s 499 pages, Brinkley tells the story of the many explorers, writers, and photographers who were pivotal in charting the course of Alaska’s development, from the time of the land’s being purchased from Russia on May 28, 1867.  Joseph Muir, the founder of The Sierra Club, was the first to extensively explore Alaska’s glaciers and waterways, and write detailed descriptions of the terrain and its animal inhabitants.  President Theodore Roosevelt was very involved in Alaska’s present and future.  He was one of the conservationists who strove to keep Alaska in its natural state.  He, and other presidents, founded natural monuments, reserves, and refuges.  For years, very brave, hardy, and dedicated men and women made repeated, long excursions in extremely cold, uncomfortable conditions to study as much of Alaska as possible, from majestic mountain ranges, to frozen tundras, to many thousands of glaciers, and endless waterways. 

The incredible magnificence of Alaska is reportedly unequaled anywhere!!  Mount McKinley, recently renamed Denali by President Obama, is the highest mountain on the North American continent, at 20,310 feet above sea level.  It is surrounded by Denali National Park, which was successfully campaigned for by Charles Sheldon.  Wildlife was extensively studied also, specimens taken for examination, and copious photographs shot. Books were written, published, and disseminated to acquaint the American public about Alaska itself, and the issues surrounding its development.  The US government sought information and hired explorers.  Policies were drafted and laws fought for and passed.  Millions of acres were saved from development and millions of animals were allowed to live out their lives safe from man’s danger, because of the untiring efforts of the naturalist conservationists.   

But, Oh my! Were there issues!  The brave, dedicated naturalist conservationists fought long and hard to protect Alaska’s pristine, natural state, and to protect the lives and well-being of the bountiful wildlife.  The enemies, in this case, were the extraction industries – those who wanted to clear-cut the forests for lumber, those who wanted to mine for coal and drill for oil, those who wanted to get rich on gold, those who killed furred animals by the many thousands, and those who raped the seas for salmon to feed the canneries. 

Those extraction industry barons fought back vigorously.  They were powerful.  They wanted endless riches!   Actually, the same type fight is still going on mightily today between those that are trying to save the land in its natural state and the ultra-greedy industry barons who rape the land for all they can get and leave the land desolate and barren.  The wildlife is devastated, and in some cases, reduced to extinction, as was the case with the sea cow, which was hunted until there were none left alive anywhere.

LET’S NOTICE AND DISCUSS WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN ALASKA, AND IS STILL HAPPENING WORLDWIDE TODAY!!

Speaking generally, because there are exceptions, two categories of people were pivotal in Alaska’s development, the humble, dedicated naturalist, conservationists and the proud, arrogant, extremely greedy extractionists, who took all they could from the land. The naturalist explorer types were, for the most part, poor with not much materially.  They didn’t care about all that.  They were so focused, in their whole lives, on helping what seemed most important, in this case Alaska’s present and future well-being, as well as that of the wildlife.  Their concerns, efforts, and goals were pointed OUTSIDE themselves.  On the other hand, the rich industry barons seem to be opposite.  Oh, they wanted all the money they could get, no matter who, or what, or how much it hurt other beings and the natural world.  Their efforts and goals were pointed INSIDE themselves.  The purpose of all their goals and work, was to enhance themselves. 

Here’s a list of the personality characteristics of humble people versus proud, arrogant people.  A friend and I thought of this list.  Maybe you could add to it.

HUMBLE PEOPLE PROUD, ARROGANT PEOPLE
Warm kindness Mean spirited
Honest  More liable to be dishonest
Empathetic Insensitive
Giving Taking
Calm, at peace spirit Unsettled
Uncomplicated, simplistic Promotes complexity
Other centered Self centered
Much more spiritual Much more materialistic
In world, but not of the world In world, and totally of the world
Consistent behavior and attitudes Liable to switch orientations
Grateful of blessings Not grateful, can’t appreciate
Respectful Disrespectful
Genuine not false Pretentious to suit goals

For the purpose of this discussion – this article – the personality and lifestyle characteristic of the humble person promote the person’s being   much more liable to use, or consume, a MINIMUM of the resources God has put on this planet.  They are awestruck by the incredible value and beauty of God’s creation, and do all possible to protect and not exploit anything.  On the other hand, the proud, arrogant person seems totally insensitive to the marvelousness of God’s creation.  That type person consumes all he or she wants (which is usually a lot – the bigger the house, lands, cars, etc., the better).  They don’t seem to care about what or how much is totally wasted or even forever ruined.  They don’t care about animal lives lost or how much torture animals go through, or about animal habitat loss, so they can get all they want (which is SO MUCH).

So, the main point in the title of this article, “Hidden Blessings of Humble Living,” is that the many, many consequences of such marvelous humble living will be those of preservation and better living for all involved, for years down the line. Such wonderful, kind-hearted, caring, thinking people will echo good will throughout eternity.  Not only will they try not to harm anything or anyone, but they will work to repair the damage others have done. They respect and honor God in His Creation, and are grateful and cherishing of all He placed on this earth.

THE HUMBLE ARE INCREDIBLE BLESSINGS IN A VERY REAL SENSE, IN THIS VERY REAL WORLD, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.

You and I make countless choices as we live each day, by what we do or don’t do.  We can make minimal purchases, protecting animal habitats and using up lesser amounts of the earth’s resources.  We can recycle and create less trash.  We can learn to have more recreation close to home so we burn less air-polluting fuel.  In thousands of ways, we can live more simply and a great deal more humbly, making a huge difference to the whole world, the world we share with all other creatures.     We do not need to be flamboyant to be happy.  We can experience deep happiness and sense of fulfillment because we are helping save what is really worthwhile, just as did Alaska’s many brave, dedicated and humble explorers and champions. 

RESOURCE:  Brinkley, Douglas.  The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom. HarperCollins Publishers (New York, 2011).

Copyright 2016 Dr. Joyce The Caring Heart

Return to Articles