Sunday, September 9, 2012

Of Humility and Faith

Dear Readers,
It is great to be back in writing mode after a long hiatus.  Medical issues and a hip replacement have complicated my writing time and thought processes, but I'm now back in the saddle and it feels good; for I've missed writing to you.

I've just finished reading a very compelling little book called, "Small Man of Nanataki", by Liam Nolan. (Available through  This is a true story of a Japanese Lutheran pastor, named "Uncle John" - Kiyoshi Watanabe, who risked his life to provide comfort and needed supplies to his country's enemies in POW camps.  It is not a long book, but quite short in comparison to the novels of our time.

Throughout the book, I have been impressed by two profound qualities of Uncle John: his humility and his faith in spite of his feelings.

Uncle John took no stock in himself or his own abilities.  When faced with someone who would thank him for his bravery, he would only give God the glory.  Why?  Because he was absolutely scared spitless and knew he could have only accomplished his assignment by the power of God. 

Uncle John was a Japanese civilian, recruited by his country's army to serve as a civilian interpreter during WWII.  The Japanese held their British POWs in absolute death camps; treating them less than animals, and Uncle John was assigned the task of translating some poor soldier's replies during many a tortuous beating. 

Thusly, he became ashamed of how his own countrymen treated the POWs.
God had already postured this man's heart as so humble before Him, that He knew He could use Uncle John to smuggle medical supplies and various other products into the POW camp which would serve to alleviate some of the suffering of the men.

Through the meeting of a British POW's wife, Nellie, Uncle John became acquainted with Dr. Selwyn-Clarke who secretly carried medical supplies for
the POW camp's infirmary.  It was during these smugglings that Uncle John issued only one request.  And that was for Nellie's three children to pray for him.  Not an adult, but the children.  I believe it is because he understood the purity and belief of a child's heart and thusly the power of their prayers.

It was the prayers of the children which carried Uncle John through every article he smuggled in for the POW's. He was scared beyond scared that he would be caught "in the act" by the Japanese soldiers minding the camp.  So scared in fact that his body would tremble and he would almost pass out from fear.  He knew what awaited a traitor's punishment if discovered.  Yet Uncle John's compassion for his country's enemies compelled him to continue time and again.

He would take no credit for any of his accomplished missions, but would silently leave a room while a POW opened his package of pen and paper on which to draw, or any of the others who would wish to bestow accolades of praise upon him.  He would always defer and give glory to God who made the mission possible.

I was so deeply impressed by his humility that I did a very short study of humility.  According to The American Heritage Dictionary, humility is:
1) Unselfish concern for the welfare of others
2) Total absence of arrogance, conceit, and haughtiness
3) Total abstinence from self, aggrandizement
(Aggrandizement means to make oneself greater - to promote oneself.)

And that's where I the word "aggrandizement" - the promoting of oneself.  Isn't that what we see today?  The commercial promotion of this ministry or that ministry; this person or that?  And somehow we come to the conclusion that if we don't reach this type of level in our own calling that somehow we have missed the proverbial boat.  When indeed, humility is the exact opposite of what we see today in who is being promoted at a certain conference or in the media.

We may think that the person who prays the loudest or has the most eloquent verbage in their prayers are the ones who pray the most anointed prayers.  We may think that only certain people are called when in fact we are all called to work together in the Body of Christ.

Let's look at 1 Cor. 12:22-23.  In this Chapter, the Apostle Paul is describing spiritual gifts and the Body of Christ.  He writes:  "No, much rather, those members of the body, which seem to be weaker are nesseary.  And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty."

In Philippians 2:5-7, the Apostle Paul writes about humility and the humility of Christ: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men."

We can conclude therefore, that since Christ humbled Himself, we too are to live humbly.  Humility is therefore to be a hallmark trait of all Christians. 
And hallmark means quality, excellence or conspicuous.

And finally faith....Most of us can quote Hebrews 11:1 about faith "being the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen", or Corinthians 5:7 "walking by faith and not by sight".

Uncle John did not have faith in himself.  He did not even have faith that he would succeed in his missions, but only as God so deemed.  As we look at Uncle John's life, he had faith in only One, God Himself.  He trusted God to do the impossible if God so desired. 

His compassion for his enemies compelled him to act.  Are we not to do the same?  Love our enemies, bless and do not curse, do not repay evil for evil, but in so far as it is possible, to live in peace with all men.

As Uncle John, may we so determine in our hearts to live in humility and faith.

"Father, where I have not been humble or looking to You, forgive me.  Cleanse my heart of any unrighteous attitudes before You.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I may live in humility of heart and trusting only You to do the impossible in this life You've given me to fulfill on this earth for as long as You have so determined.  In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen."

Blessings always,

P.S If you are interested in further reading a compelling book about the injustices of the POW camps in Japan and finally redemption, there is also a book called, "Unbroken", by Lauren Hillenbrand.  It can be found at:

1 comment:

  1. thank you for this. I wish more people knew about the story of Rev. Watanabe. But that is perhaps the result of his own humility.


Welcome ~

The purpose of this blog is to encourage our walk in Christ; together in Him; for as we develop our relationship with the Lord, we ARE more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! Praise God! My writings are mostly from an experiential standpoint; however sometimes this includes dreams and visions. (Comments are reviewed prior to posting.)