Many years ago, a singer named Mac Davis sang a song tongue in cheek that made everyone laugh. The title was "Oh Lord It's Hard to be Humble". The first verse went like this: "Oh Lord it's hard to be humble, when you're perfect in every way. I can't wait to look in the mirror 'cause I get better lookin' each day. To know me is to love me, I must be a h*** of a man; Oh Lord it's hard to be humble, but I'm doin' the best that I can." Now, when I saw him perform this on T.V., we knew he wasn't serious because even he broke out laughing as he sang this. Unfortunately, in today's world, humility is often a forgotten virtue. So what does humility look like?
We need look no further than to our Lord Jesus Christ who was not only perfect but the only one who lived a life of humility. He demonstrated his servant heart when He washed the feet of the disciples. This was a job that only a servant would do when his master had come home. Read John 13:1-17 to get the entire picture. We will key in on a few verses starting in verse 12 and going to verse 17: "When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. 'Do you understand what I have done for you?' He asked them. 'You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than His master nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent Him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.'"
In this passage, the humble conduct of our Lord is not a result of Him forgetting that He was the Son of God; rather, His conduct demonstrated that his position was not an occasion for feeling superior. Instead, He became a servant and bid His disciples to do the same. This pattern of humility in Jesus Christ is one which He wants all followers to copy. We must be more willing to serve than to dominate or become "top dog" in any area of our life.
A brief description from The Reformation Study Bible states that "humility does not mean pretending to be worthless and refusing positions of responsibility, but knowing and keeping the place God has appointed for one. Being humble is a matter of accepting God's arrangement, whether it means the high exposure of leadership (i.e. Moses) or the obscurity of being a servant. When Jesus said that He was 'lowly in heart' (Matt. 11:29), He meant that He was following the Father's plan for His earthly life" (pg. 1519, The Reformation Study Bible). For me, this was an eye opener. I especially love the phrase "knowing and keeping the place God has appointed for one." Why is it we always try to go beyond God's plans for us? Jesus followed God's earthly plan even though it led Him to the cross. However, in due season, God glorified Him in His resurrection and ascension. God desires our obedience not our performance or accomplishments.
Somehow, we have allowed the world to influence our thinking even in the church. Many Christians feel that their small contributions cannot amount to much compared to those who have high visibility or who have done something outstanding. Our Lord, however, does not look on outward activities or appearances. He looks at the heart. Do we possess the heart of a servant? Are we willing to work in obscurity to serve people who cannot repay us? These are the things which catch His attention...not trophies, recognition or applause.
Jesus refused to be made king over Israel when the people wanted him to take the crown even though He was our King. Instead, He lived a life of obedience and servanthood to set an example for us of how to live before God and treat one another. Humility is indeed a virtue which we do not often find today and yet, brings rich blessings when it is embraced.
While Mac Davis introduced us to a cute song, only the first few words are really true: "Oh Lord it's hard to be humble...." because it really is hard unless the Holy Spirit empowers us. Jesus gave us, as His disciples, the example to live and serve as He did. Further, His promise to us is this in verse 17: "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
During these days of reflection as we await the joy of Easter, may we also seek to serve as our Lord served. We are not to lay up our treasures on earth which pass quickly away. Instead, we are to invest ourselves in serving others and lay up blessings in heaven which will not disappoint or fade away. Selah!