Twentieth-century theologian C. S. Lewis once observed, “Humility isn’t thinking less of YOURSELF, but thinking of yourself LESS!” Let that sink in for a while. Each of us, as a child of God, deserves the very best, but…we need to be reminded that life isn’t all about us! And for that reason, Paul, in writing to the young Christians at Rome, said, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment” (Romans 12:3).

A number of years ago, an American gentleman walked into a posh jewelry store in Sydney, Australia, wanting to buy a pink argyle diamond – one of the most expensive items in the shop. During the credit card transaction, unfortunately the store’s computer froze. The salesclerk stared at the screen in amazement and embarrassment. The gentleman leaned over the counter, offered a keystroke combination and the machine came back to life. “You seem to know something about computers,” she remarked. The gentleman nodded matter-of-factly, continued the transaction and then quietly left the store.


When the woman’s husband came into the shop later in the day, she told him about the sale and the embarrassment over the computer. When they looked again at the customer’s credit card details, they were shocked to read his name – Bill Gates! Mr. Gates happened to be in town for the huge Microsoft Convention at Sydney’s Darling Harbour. The woman suddenly felt silly for having asked him, “You seem to know something about computers,” when this guru of a man is the guy who just about sets the agenda for the computer industry worldwide!


So why didn’t Bill Gates pompously say to the salesclerk, “Do you know who I AM?” when he offered his keystroke combination to her? Maybe he wanted to avoid a fuss. If he desired a low profile, he certainly presented himself as an anonymous American guy who “knew a little something about computers.” Is Bill Gates known for his humility? I’m not sure. But I do know that at least in this instance, he didn’t think of himself more highly than he should have!


— Paul W. Brubaker
July/August 2017