It’s Foundational (Humility)
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3
Humility has not always been a cultural value, it is often misunderstood and therefore not high on the attribute list for leaders, but as a Christian, it is foundational.
John Dickson in Humilitas, writes, “Humility is the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources, or use your influence for the good of others before yourself… a willingness to hold power in service of others.” The Western world’s value of humility came from the impact on Europe of the Judeo-Christian worldview. Dickson states, “what established humility as a virtue in Western culture was not Jesus’ persona exactly, or even his teaching, but rather his execution-or more correctly, his followers’ attempts to come to grip with his execution.”
Crucifixion was the most brutal and shameful form of capital punishment, and was most often used on political rebels and slaves. The followers of Jesus, shaped by their cultural mores, saw their friend, Rabbi, and Lord murdered in the most shameful and horrific public demonstration of power. Honour was given to those well deserving, and shame proved your worthlessness. How did the disciples reconcile this violent incongruence? It was the transformation of their minds by the Spirit, an un-learning of societal mores, and forging a counter-cultural ethos for the believers. They had to re-think their cultural honour-shame paradigm.
Common sense gave the disciples two alternatives:
Jesus was not as wonderful as they thought because being crucified publicly, communicated and defined him as a scoundrel, political infidel and insignificant.
2. Their definition of greatness had to be re-defined. Crucifixion was not evidence of humiliation, but in fact, greatness was conveyed in humility, the noble choice to lower oneself for the sake of others.
Tim Keller writes“ The heart of the gospel is the cross, and the cross is all about giving up the power, pouring out resources and serving.”
The Gospel message of the cross is rooted in Jesus’ humility. He was willing to lower himself, to be shamed and crucified so that you and I may be lifted up. We can stand against the tide of our culture today, embracing our brokenness and vulnerability to bring glory to God as strong leaders.
The journey of becoming a humble leader begins when we are able to put our own best interests aside. Jesus is the ultimate example of humble, sacrificial leadership, so why shouldn’t we try our best to lead like He did? Jesus knew what His mission on earth was- He was here to save. If there has ever been anyone on this earth that would have the right to lack humility, it would be Jesus. He literally saved humanity, and yet He allowed himself to be killed in the most shameful way possible. His greatness did not need a crown, servants, or an earthly throne. Jesus displayed his greatness through humility, leaving us with the greatest narrative of humble leadership.
By Sandy Shier
Intentional about life and people, Sandy’s rhythm of life travels between two worlds of mainstream society and the street level community. As part of the lead team of Metro Community Church, giving oversight to Metro Central, the weekday drop in, she is as easily comfortable sitting on a curb with someone in active addiction or in a boardroom, meeting with business people. Sharing the Sunday teaching responsibility, Sandy comes alive sharing the Gospel in an otherwise chaotic and deeply misunderstood world of the marginalized segment of society. She is also pursing her doctorate at Fuller Seminary. Married to Randy, they have three grown children; Luke, Rachael, her husband Johnny, and Hannah, who is married to Chad. Sandy and Randy also have two grandsons, Santiago and Solomon.