I’ve thought for years I should write a book titled: The Ten Most Humble People and How I Mentored the Other Nine.
Humility is a virtue we know we need, but if we know we have it … well, maybe we don’t have it after all. An acknowledgment of our own humility may just go against what it means to be humble!
I like the way Helen Nielsen said it.
So who is the most humble person? Three names come to mind.
- Moses. The Bible describes him as humble. “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3).
- Jesus. The Son of God is our perfect example of how we are to live with humility (Phil. 2:5-11).
- _______________________. Actually, I don’t know the third person’s name. Maybe it’s you. But it is someone who loves Jesus wholeheartedly and serves so humbly and quietly that no one even notices.
I find such humility admirable in today’s world. We live in a world that encourages you to wave your own flag. Market who you are. Toot your own horn, because if you don’t, who will?
Churches are beginning to emerge from the COVID-19 quarantine and many are starting to meet again. The church where I am serving as the interim pastor will resume meeting on May 31. Like many churches, we will be doing so with self-imposed restrictions: facemasks, physical distancing, and 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer … well, lots of hand sanitizer.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 with its wide range of opinions and theories (including conspiracy theories) is dividing people—even believers in Christ’s body.
- We’re going overboard with all this “protection.”
- No one is going to make me wear a mask!
- We’re the church. We should be trusting God, not unsure doctors or the government.
What does humility look like as we come back together? Humility is willing to restrict my freedoms for the sake of others.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4).
I don’t want to wear a face mask, but I will. I’m happy to shake someone’s hand (or fist bump or whatever the cool kids are doing this week), but I won’t. I choose to restrict myself for the sake of others. We can debate until the cows come home about the legitimacy and value of the guidelines and restrictions, but for the moment, I choose to err on the side of discretion.
It’s not about me. I choose to restrict myself for the sake of others. To do otherwise is to be centered on what I want. That is being self-centered—and that’s pride.
Love and value those around you. Place their interests before your own. That’s what Jesus did for us—and we are called to be like Jesus. In the very next verse after Paul wrote on living in humility, he said:
“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross” (vv. 5-8).
Let’s humble ourselves before God, setting aside ourselves, and living for the sake of others. God honors our humility. Let’s honor Him by living humbly before others.
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