Jesus on Leading: Humility 1
Beginning with an earlier post about Authentic Leadership, or Taking our Cues on Leading from Jesus, I am doing a series of posts about some of the heart qualities of leadership that Jesus exhibited and exhorted us to. This post will be the first of 2 (or more) about humility.
Jesus had a lot to say about humility, and in contrast, about pride and arrogance. Before I attempt to make some comments about humility—such a dangerous topic to write about—I’m going to let Jesus and the leaders of the early church make some of their own comments on humility.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (Philippians 2:3)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6)
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10) These words give us just a hint at what Jesus and these writers of the New Testament believe about the essential reality of humility for any true follower of Jesus. In the next post we will look at what it looks like for us to live out this kind of attitude, especially as leaders.
What about you? Did any of these exhortations speak to you?