Recently, I ate lunch with a group of Mennonite workmen, and as the conversation evolved, the gentleman next to me made the comment, “You like to talk don’t you? Are you a salesman?”
His question prompted me to ask myself, “When I chat with others, am I an interesting conversationalist or a boring orator?”
One of the best tests of a humble person is in any conversation, he concentrates more on the other person than himself. I try to be “you oriented” when I speak to others, but I’m aware that often, I talk too much, too long and sometimes, too impulsively. In the latter case, I occasionally say something I later regret.
Benjamin Franklin described best how difficult it is for some people to listen more than speak:
"In reality there is perhaps not one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself...For even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility."
Self-centeredness and pride are major stumbling blocks for anyone who strives for humility. It is a character trait which Jesus addressed when he ate at the home of a prominent Pharisee and noticed how everyone tried to sit at the head of the table with the host:
“All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”