The Gift of Humility

The Gift of Humility

“I used to think, that God’s gifts were on shelves

one

above

another

and the taller we grow,

The easier we can reach them.

Now I find, that

God’s gifts are on shelves

one

beneath

another

and the lower we stoop,

The more we get”.

—F. B. Meyer [1]

 The message is counter-cultural! Consider a heroic example.

 “When people in the ancient word thought of heroic leaders, rulers and kings, they often thought of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC). At the age of 20 he succeeded his father Phillip to the throne of Macedonia, quickly made himself master of all of Greece, and then set about the task –to him, it seemed, quite small – of conquering the rest of the world. By the time he died at the age of 33 he succeeded to such an extent that it made sense, within the thought of the time, for him to be regarded as divine”.[2]

 Now, let’s go a bit further. “Who was it who arrogantly grasped at the chance to be ‘like God, knowing good and evil”? [2]  It was Adam in Genesis 3. So, we see here that these people thought that they would be great when they become of high noble ranking.

Ok, but what of the counter-cultural message? Philippians 2:5-11 tells us the story of Jesus. Jesus has always existed. We see that he is part of the Trinity. He is God himself. Now, without becoming less God, he became a human. Not only that, he became a servant. But there is more, “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). And guess what? He died for those who rebelled against him. Humans owed God a debt, and through trust in Jesus that debt is paid completely. Now, after this, Jesus was lifted high, has the highest honor, and all will bow and confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).

That is the heroic example. As we look at Jesus, “dying on the cross the most powerful thought you should think is: this is the true meaning of who God is. He is the God of self-giving love”[2] So, when we talk about striving for unity and humility, we do so based on what Jesus has done for us. We do so because of what he has done for us. We do so, to follow the example of Jesus. Heroic leadership and genuine Christian living comes when we seek humility.  “The lower we stoop, the more we get”.[1]

 

[2] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 572). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

[2] Wright, N.T. (2002). Paul for Everyone: The Prison Epistles (p.101)

Ryan Fields