“Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor» (Proverbs 15:33, NIV).
Pau Casals was one of the most prominent Spanish musicians of the twentieth century. He’s considered to be one of the best cello players of all time. In a biography written about him, Josep M. Corredor tells an interesting story from the musician’s youth, which teaches us a great lesson in humility. Casals crossed the Pyrenean Mountains from Spain with his mother and younger siblings. He was excited, but when he arrived in Brussels, he found out the man he wanted as a professor wouldn’t teach him. Instead, the man suggested he go to the Conservatory to be heard by a professor there.
He felt very discouraged the following day. Nevertheless he attended the class of Mr. Jacobs, the cello professor at that time. The Conservatory in Brussels was the most famous one in those days, so Casals felt very shy in that environment. He sat in the back of the classroom and, when class ended, the professor, somewhat mockingly, asked the petit Spaniard if he wanted to play something. Feeling humiliated, Casals got up, grabbed his cello and began playing «Le souvenir de Spa,» which at that time was the Belgian school’s forte. Suddenly everyone fell silent. They were all amazed. When he finished, Mr. Jacobs promised him first prize if he was willing to enter his class. But the petit Spaniard replied that, after the hurtful comments he had made, he didn’t want to stay a minute longer. And that’s what happened, the Belgian school lost the chance to have the prodigy for a longer period of time.
When talking about the ordinance of humility, Ellen White says, «There is in man a disposition to esteem himself more highly than his brother, to work for self, to seek the highest place. . . The ordinance preceding the Lord ‘s Supper is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of heart that will lead him to serve his brother» (Counsels for the Church, ch. 53, P. 300).
There’s no need for us to wait until the next Lord ‘s Supper to sort things out with a person to whom we’ve shown little humility. Today God wants to teach us to be more like Him in that area as well. May we not be like that arrogant professor.