“Who is the greatest?”
I have spent hours sitting around with friends arguing over who is the greatest quarter back: Brett Favre or Aaron Rogers. (Can take the boy out of WI but can’t take the WI out of the boy!) I have spent days debating what is the greatest jazz album of all time. Recently the conversation came up of who is the greatest performer of all time? All normal.
But the disciples were arguing over who was the greatest disciple between them! Imagine sitting with your friends from church and fighting over who was a better Christian! “Well you swear!” “You lied!” “You’re greedy!” “You smell like fish!” I would have liked to be a fly on the wall for that argument.
Then Jesus steps in.
I bet the room got quiet. I bet their hearts sank and some guilt or shame set in. I bet as soon as they saw Jesus’ face they remembered his previous words to them about who is the greatest. (Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 20:20-28)
Who is the greatest is an uncomfortable question because it reveals our vanity. Our pride. And the antidote is humility.
My mentor Jerry Cook said, “Humility is knowing who you really are.” He’s right. Humility isn’t a beat down to put us in our place but a reminder of the true self God designed us to be. Humility isn’t looking down on yourself but looking straight at yourself and letting down the mask, that is pride, of who we project ourselves to be.
What a relief to just be yourself!
Here are a few ways to practice humility this week.
- Lectio Divina // Prayer
- This is deliberate self-examination with the Word of God.
- Tip Extravagantly
- Jesus’ analogy was of one reclined at the table and one waiting the table. When asked who is greater the obvious answer is the one reclined. Jesus said, “not so with you.” Tipping extravagantly turns the table. And it doesn’t mean 25%. It means 100%!
- Serve in a way that you receive nothing in
- This may involve serving anonymously or serving someone who has nothing to give you.
I think the 3rd point is super important and the most rewarding. Giving time to a charitable organization, donating money or used stuff to an important organization… How gratifying it is on many levels to put old clothes or books into a drop box. Someone will enjoy your used items, and you feel cleansed by getting the clutter out of your home. Nobody knows from where those beautiful clothes came from, but you smile inside knowing that someone will find your spoils to be their treasures. I find antique shopping exciting for the reverse reasons. I get excited finding some cool collectible that the owner no longer wants. Maybe they inherited that piece of junk. But as the saying goes, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”
I agree Sarah! You are so good at it too! And you are great at helping others serve.
Also, “serving someone who has nothing to give you” is sort of a trick challenge. 1) We are benefitted WHEN we serve. 2) We can all benefit from a friendship, a word of encouragement, a smile, etc. Those are things we can all give and receive.