Mr. Milquetoast and Other Misconceptions About Humility

Todd Wilson | November 11, 2014


Several years ago, I was finishing up PhD studies and preparing to leave the place that had been my home for the past three years in Cambridge, England. Some friends invited me for a farewell dinner. They also invited another friend of theirs, an independently wealthy, quintessentially British gentleman who was bright, articulate, well-read, witty, and sported a rather posh accent. Naturally, he was curious as to what I was going to do after my graduation.

“So what are your plans?” he asked.

Since I was about to earn a PhD from one of the world’s top universities, he assumed I would be heading for a teaching post at an Ivy League school—Harvard, Yale, Princeton, perhaps?

“I’m going to be a pastor,” I told him, somewhat sheepishly. “P-a-s-t-o-r”—I can still hear the sound of that strange little word proceed from my mouth; it nearly got stuck on the way out, as if it didn’t want to be seen or heard.

My announcement surprised the dinner guest. In fact, he looked at me incredulously, as if I’d morphed into one of those ghoulish creatures from a cheap sci-fi movie. The look on his face told me I had some explaining to…


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