Leadership in any sphere of life is difficult to walk out in a humble way. All too often leadership is worn as a badge of honor that has been earned. No matter what the context, leadership that has a sense of being earned will always result in abuse. In the marketplace we see CEO’s everyday who have a sense of entitlement to their absurd salaries and “golden parachutes” who do nothing for their companies and take millions even in their leaving. We see governmental leaders who abuse their authority because either they feel like they can get away with it or because they feel they’ve earned the right to what their power can get them.
It’s human nature to act this way. In fact, when people in the world act differently than this it should raise questions of “what’s different about them?” The church is called to live that different life. Leaders in the body of Christ are mandated to live in humility according to the Spirit of God, not in presumption according to the flesh.
- Humility’s Call (1 Corinthians 1:19-31)
- Paul tells us that the Lord calls the foolish things of the world to put shame to the wise. He goes on to explain that the Lord loves to use people who were not necessarily wise, strong or noble to do His will.
- The Lord chooses to do this so “that no flesh should glory in His presence.” v.28. We are so prone to exalt ourselves for our leadership and accomplishments that God has called us in opposition to the spirit that lifts up ourselves. He desires that we lift Him up so that if we glory, “we glory in the Lord.” v.31
- Without the Lord granting us humility we will certainly take honor for ourselves. When we take honor for ourselves we steal the honor that the Lord is due. Humility, then, is absolutely necessary to honor the Lord.
- Choosing Humility (Matthew 5:1-12)
- Humility is not something that we choose on accident and it doesn’t come natural to us. We must make a conscious choice toward humility and we must do it daily or we’ll stray from it.
- Jesus, in the Beatitudes, teaches us the heart conditions that keep us in humility. When we voluntarily choose to live out these 8 things we voluntarily place ourselves in the way of living humbly.
- It’s difficult to choose to mourn over evil without seeing the evil in ourselves. It’s hard to ask the Lord to make us meek without looking inward at the ways we seek our own desires. It’s nearly impossible to be a peacemaker and truly serve only our own will and desires. Jesus gave us the manual on humility here.
- The Place For Honor (Matthew 20:20-28)
- 1 Timothy 5:17 says that elders (leaders in the body of Christ) should be “counted worthy of double honor.” This is definitely true, but not from the perspective that leaders themselves should demand their own honor, but that people in the church should hold their leaders in respect. Any leader who demands his own honor has then stolen that honor away from the Lord.
- In Matthew 20:20-28 Jesus deals with two of His disciples trying to exalt themselves over the others. James and John got their mother to ask Jesus to seat them in honor with Him. It made the rest of the disciples angry, and rightly so.
- Jesus told them that the leaders of this world lord their authority over others, “yet it shall not be so among you.” We are commanded by Jesus not to lord over each other our leadership. Jesus tells us that if we want to be great, we must choose to serve. Jesus gave us the greatest example of this. Who was more worthy of being served than Jesus, yet He came and served mankind and was even tortured and killed for our sake. We, then, have no right to claim our own privilege or authority.