I received a strange and wonderful phone call tonight.
First, a little background. I served as pastor of Corn Creek Baptist Church in Milton, Kentucky, from 2003-2009. During that time I met a local piano tuner when he came to our house to tune both our own piano and the church’s piano.
In March of 2009, my family made a trip here to Jackson to start looking at houses. We knew we were moving here over the summer, so we were making preparations. It was while we were on that trip that the piano tuner called me on my cell phone to remind me that it had been about a year since the church’s piano had been tuned, and he wanted to know if we wanted to set up another appointment with him. I told him that I would get that appointment set up, and I also took the opportunity to tell him that I was in Jackson, Tennessee, making preparations to move that summer. We ended up talking for several minutes about my future plans of teaching at Augustine School and various other things that were on my mind about the upcoming move.
Back in Kentucky (before our move), I saw him one last time when he came out to tune the church’s piano again. All in all, I had seen him two times and spoken to him maybe three or four times total. We had a cordial business relationship, and I assumed that after the move I would never hear from him again.
And then, lo and behold, tonight I get a phone call from none other than the piano tuner. At first I thought he might be calling to try to set up another appointment to tune the church’s piano. I thought perhaps he had forgotten about our move and was assuming that we were still there in Kentucky (I have the same cell phone number that I had then). But I quickly learned that he was calling simply because he was passing through Jackson, Tennessee, and it reminded him of me. I talked to him for several minutes again, as he asked me all about my first year teaching full-time at a classical school, among other things.
I have been thinking about that conversation tonight, pondering what a lesson it is in true humility. This man barely knows me at all, and yet he not only keeps my phone number stored in his cell phone, he also keeps detailed information about my life stored in his brain. And I don’t mean that in a creepy way, as if he is a stalker (he’s not). I mean that he is a man who has taken a genuine interest in the life of a person he barely knows at all, enough of an interest to give a heart-warming call out of the blue.
That is what humility looks like. It’s not so much thinking poorly of yourself as it is taking the focus off of yourself and taking a genuine interest in others. If a man I barely know can take a genuine interest in my life, how much more should I invest time, listening ears, and an engaged mind and heart into the lives of my dear brothers and sisters in the church?
Thank you, Lord, for an unexpected lesson in humility.