Friday, February 3, 2012

Thoughts on humility

Photo credit: shelley_e from

In our closing session today at WorldVenture's renewal conference, we watched a message on humility by John Dickson, recorded at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. The message was convicting and thought provoking. After a long 2 weeks of meetings, messages and prayer, this video successfully broke through my tiredness and touched my soul.

In some ways, preparing for the mission field has forced us to be humble. We are fully dependent on others, and on God really, to meet our everyday needs. We are depending on the financial support of others. We can no longer live the self-sufficient life that we had led for years. This is all humbling.

But on the other hand, I find myself having to fight to stay humble. There is a tendency in the American church to place missionaries on a pedestal, and sometimes I'm the worst offender. We are expected to be super spiritual people, hailed for making the ultimate sacrifice of home and family for the sake of the gospel. Boy, talk about a bunch of stuff that can go to your head and make you feel "holier than thou", right? And as God meets our financial needs in ministry, it can be so easy to congratulate ourselves on a job well done. "Look at all the money we've raised"! We can be so quick to believe these lies, even subconsciously, and forget who really deserves all the credit.

In reality, we are completely undeserving of any of this praise, and we should be humble. We are imperfect people, trying to figure out faith and life just like everyone else, completely undeserving of a pedestal. We are learners, moving to a new culture where we know nothing and will humbly start our lives over. Most of all, we are sinners, completely undeserving of God's grace.

Christ's act of coming to earth and dying on the cross makes Him the ultimate example of humility. He is the one that does deserve praise and here He was, washing the disciples' feet! He made himself nothing, born in a stable and dying a horrible death on the cross when He belonged at the right hand of God. How much more should we pursue humility and emulate Christ?

Today's message has caused me to reflect on Philippians 2:3 - 8:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
 Who, being in very nature God,
   did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing
   by taking the very nature of a servant,
   being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   by becoming obedient to death—
      even death on a cross! 

May He increase our humility and His glory as we continue each day on this journey!

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