If you’re one of those people who expects more genuine humility within the walls of the church than anywhere else on the planet, I’m sorry to say, you’d be wrong.
Jesus had some pretty direct things to say about being humble. So, I’m quite confident this is not a new problem.
“God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.” Matthew 5:5
“So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:24
“Whoever makes himself great will be made humble. Whoever makes himself humble will be made great.” Matthew 23:12 and Luke 14:11
Even the apostles who walked with Jesus had humility issues.
In Matthew 20, James and John wanted places of honor in Jesus kingdom. And in Luke 9:46 the disciples actually had an argument over which of them was the greatest.
We shouldn’t be surprised, should we?
Who is the best musician? Who gets to teach? Who gets to make important decisions? Who has the most influence over the pastor and leaders? Who bakes the best brownies? (Okay maybe not that one, but you get the idea.)
I’ve even seen the people who consider themselves to be the largest contributors believe they should have more influence over the happenings at the church. Or what about those who spend the most time there? Aren’t they more important?
It’s a problem.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Let’s Take a Look at the Problem of Pride in the Church
I want to introduce you to a couple who showed us, Jesus.
Tilden and Loretta were members of our small congregation.
Tilden greeted everyone with a big ol’ bear hug and the words, “Do you how much Jesus loves you?” Then he and his dear wife, Loretta would show you.
You see, Tilden and Loretta served. There was no job too small.
Whether it was setting up or taking down chairs, washing dishes, visiting someone who was sick, sharing a meal, or anything else . . . Tilden and Loretta had it covered.
They weren’t looking for big assignments that came with pats on the back and lots of recognition; they did the small tasks that most people ran from. They took the lowest place.
When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice:
Don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed.
“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Luke 20:7–10
The best part . . . I not only remember them humbly doing; more than anything, I remember their joy. They just bubbled with the joy that comes from knowing and loving Jesus. Their contagious joy rubbed off on everyone around them.
Humble servants. I don’t remember many people who gave more of their time serving at our church than these two, and yet I never saw them leverage it for their own advantage or status.
I believe one their secrets was a short prayer Tilden taught me. A promise he prayed each morning.
Yes! I have surrendered this day to God. I will follow where He guides and I will do His will as He reveals it to me. Amen.
I wish I had a picture of these two giants of faith to share with you. But maybe it’s okay. Maybe there is a face you can put with my memories. Maybe you know precious God-given blessings like Tilden and Loretta.
One last thought…
If you’ve ever been put off, hurt, or offended by our failure to show you humble love at our churches please forgive us. We are deeply sorry.
You see, we’re forgiven and loved by Jesus just like you, but we are still so very far from following Him perfectly. We don’t even follow Him the way we’d like to follow Him let alone the way He commanded. We need His grace and yours every day.
We want to do better and with His help, we will. We’ll begin by trusting that Jesus’ way of humility really is best for the family who loves Him and hopes to share His love with the world.
We hope you’ll give us another chance to show you the humble love of Jesus.
We would love to pray for you.
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