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Hey, this is John Ortberg. And in passage to wisdom today, I wanna actually take a moment to visit a wonderful book. One of my favorites in the last couple of years, it’s a novel. That’s called a gentleman in Moscow and there’s remarkable wisdom in a couple of passages. And I think it’ll change your day. It’s about count, who, uh, lost his position, his wealth, his prestige, and the Russian SIC revolution. He ends up living basically under house arrest in this once grand now, decaying, uh, hotel in Moscow. And one of the other characters in it is a woman named Anna who had been a beautiful and famous and very successful movie star, but was betrayed humiliated. And both of them are living now in a state of disgrace. And here’s a remarkable passage that the author writes when one experiences, a profound setback from an inviable life.

One has a variety of options spur by shame. One can hide the evidence of their change in circumstances. So a merchant having gambled away all of his money might wear his suits until they were afraid. And tell anecdotes about life in clubs, to which he no longer belongs or in a state of safe self pity. One may retreat from the world in which what one was blessed to live. So a long suffering husband having been publicly shamed by his wife might be the one to move out of the house and into a poor dark apartment on the other side of town, or like the count. And Anna one may simply join the Confederacy of the humbled and in the Confederacy of the humbled, you don’t try to hide. You. Don’t try to go someplace else. You don’t try to avoid you. Don’t try to escape.

You. Don’t try to pretend you don’t try to convince you simply allow reality to be what it is Dallas Willard. My wife has fond of saying would sometimes talk about humility simply in terms of acknowledging reality. And reality will be really, really humble sooner or later. There’s a real good chance that you will be invited to join the Confederacy of the humbled. And this is part of what the author goes on to say about this. Again, a gentleman of Moscow’s amazing book, the Confederacy of the humbled is a close-knit brotherhood whose members travel with no outward markings, but know each other at a glance for being suddenly fallen from a state of grace. Those in the Confederacy share a certain set of perspectives, knowing beauty, influence fame, and privilege to be borrowed rather than bestowed, they are not easily impressed. They are not quick to envy or take offense. They certainly do not scour the papers, searching for their names. Or we might say in our day, they don’t Google themselves a lot. They’re not counting up followers or likes. They remain committed to living among their peers, but they greet adulation with caution ambition, with sympathy and condescension with an inner smile.

This is the Confederacy of the humbled, and it was begun a long time ago by a man named Jesus who left a formally enviable position in life left that state of grace, who being in very nature. God did not consider equality with God to be grounds for grasping, but poured himself out. Taking on the very form of a servant, being found in appearance as a human being. He joined the Confederacy of the humbled. He humbled himself. He became obedient, uh, to death, even death on a cross. And he invites you and I. Anybody who wants to anybody who falls from an enviable position in life to enter into his little community, the Confederacy of the humbled, not to run and hide in shame, not to try to disguise the condition of your life, not to try to retreat in self pity, just simply to be here.

And I find those words really helpful, really helpful reminder of what I’m called to what I might try to do. The, the count in this book, uh, has another wonderful observation. At one point, a woman leaves a child with him and the child is only maybe four years old, but the mother is unable ever to return. And so the count ends up becoming a surrogate father and this man who had been quite a charming aristocrat, benign, but quite self-centered quite devoted to his polished and privileged way of life and then ends up having to live in the cramped servants quarters in a humiliating way in this hotel, where once he would’ve ruled this man who had all the conveniences of life at his fingertips, and those are the things that we think of as being part of the good life that we’re trying to achieve, lost them all and ended up being enormously inconvenience, particularly by this child and then by his circumstances.

And so whatever goods he has has to go to the raising of this child, his time, his obligations, his freedom are all gone. And in the end, here’s the observation he makes about this. He’s talking to one of the characters and he says, these are the great conveniences of life to be able to sleep until noon and have someone bring you breakfast on a tray to be able to cancel an appointment at a moment’s notice. And when you’re at the top of the ladder, you can do that to have a carriage, always waiting for you at one party, ready to Whis you away at a moment’s notice to another party to sidestep marriage when you’re young and the having of children all together. These, uh, these conditions are the conveniences of life and I had them all, but in the end, it is the inconveniences that matter.

But in the end, it is the inconveniences that matter. It is the being needed. It is the requirement of sacrifices. It is the giving of time. It is the looking at how can I love this one? How can I devote myself to a person in a situation where I am not in control, but I can try to give it the best that I have. How can I have a life that is not my own? It is in the end. It is not. Life is not about the accumulation of circumstances. It is not about the accumulation of conveniences. It is the inconveniences that matter.

And this too, we learn from the founder of the Confederacy of the Humboldt who left his privileged life in heaven, though. He was rich yet became poor. So that’s the invitation for today. Join the Confederacy of the Humboldt. And remember it’s the inconveniences that matter. So when they come to you today, the need to do an errand for somebody, the need to fix something or serve in some way or give something, or somebody interrupts your time when you were not planning on it, or there’s a need for something in the end. It’s the inconveniences that matter. So embrace being inconvenience today, embrace joining the Confederacy of the humble, and I’ll see you next time.