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Choosing Humility

September 29, 2021 • Life for Leaders

Scripture – Luke 14:7-11 (NRSV)

When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Focus

Whether among our colleagues at work or in the wider world of social media, we who seek to follow Jesus can choose the way of humility. We can make an effort to serve others and lift them up. We can acknowledge and celebrate the successes of our colleagues, perhaps even our competitors. Doing so will feel odd in today’s world, but it is the way of Jesus.

Today’s devotion is part of the series Following Jesus Today.

Devotion

For us, humility is mainly an attitude or frame of mind. It’s not thinking too highly of ourselves. There is certainly a biblical basis for this notion of humility. In Philippians 2:3, for example, we read: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.” Humility is a matter of how we think about ourselves in relationship to others.

Yet, Scripture also envisions humility as a matter of choiceful action. We see this in Luke 14:7-11, a passage in which Jesus talks about where you might choose to sit at a wedding. Humbling yourself, in this case, is a matter of deciding to put yourself in a lowly place. You could choose to do this no matter what you thought or felt about yourself. Of course you’d find it easier to act in humility if you were truly humble in heart. But, in today’s Bible passage, Jesus emphasizes humble action.

Most of us aren’t going to be choosing where we sit at weddings very often. In fact, for the most part we don’t have much choice about such things. We’re usually escorted to our seats by ushers in wedding ceremonies, and wedding receptions generally have assigned seats. For us, choosing to act humbly happens in other settings.

You could opt for humility in your workplace, for example. This could be a matter of not taking advantage of perks you have earned, like a corner office (or a larger screen for Zoom meetings). But I think in our cultural setting, workplace humility has more to do with how you relate to others. Do you choose to serve those who rank lower than you in the company hierarchy? Do you try hard to affirm your colleagues, both in private and in public? Are you genuinely committed to the success and advancement of your co-workers?

Social media doesn’t encourage humility of heart or action. Whether we’re tweeting or posting or uploading, social media encourages us to promote ourselves. I find it interesting to watch how some fine Christian leaders seem to have bought into the “promote yourself” ethos. They’re always talking about their accomplishments and opportunities. And they rarely congratulate others for their successes or promote the good work of their colleagues. Those who choose the path of self-promotion may even be personally humble, but their actions have been shaped by the self-promoting ways of social media.

Whether among our colleagues at work or in the wider world of social media, we who seek to follow Jesus can choose the way of humility. We can make an effort to serve others and lift them up. We can acknowledge and celebrate the successes of our colleagues, perhaps even our competitors. Doing so will feel odd in today’s world, but it is the way of Jesus.

Reflect

As you think about your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, whom do you consider to be truly humble? Why?

In what ways do you choose the way of humility?

Are there ways you could serve others and/or lift them up, things you are not doing very often now?

Act

Do something today to serve someone else or to lift up that person.

Pray

Lord Jesus, I confess that I find it natural to seek my own position, power, and glory. Humility doesn’t come easily to me. So I ask for your help. Jesus, you chose the path of humility, becoming human and even deciding to give your life on the cross. May your example teach me and inspire me.

Even this day, Lord, help me to humble myself in service to others.

To you be all the glory. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Humble Service (Luke 9:46-50, 14:7-11, 22:24-30)


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2 thoughts on “Choosing Humility

  1. DiAnne says:

    You just had to give the example of the cross; that gets it 🙂

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