The Humility Award
Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. Mark 10:43-44
In today’s passage, Jesus again addressed pride and humility, insisting that as his followers, we’re not to follow the world’s desire for self-promotion, but rather, we’re to seek a life of service to others. We’re not to pursue power and pride, but rather, we must continually choose humility.
In reading this passage, I want to obey, so, I begin to brainstorm about what I can do to be a humble servant. I don’t get very far in my planning though, before my thoughts turn to how good I’ll be at it. Without any effort, my mind drifts to thoughts of how others will probably recognize me for my amazing humility. If there was a servant of the year award, I’ll probably get it. Before I’ve even done anything, I start planning my acceptance speech for this Humility Award. Thank you. I’m honored. I pride myself on my humility . . .
Even in my attempts to be humble, my insidious pride injects itself into my thinking. This is a serious life problem. In all things, it’s simply my nature to put me first. At least I’m in good company. Even Christ’s disciples struggled with their pride, some 2,000 years ago. In today’s passage, James and John came to him, requesting positions of power in his kingdom. Jesus said that to follow him meant abandoning power and pursuing service.
We want to obey, but we also want to get something out of it. If I’m going to lower myself to this station, I should at least get some recognition for it. Humility though, is its own reward. It’s in pursuing self that we find misery. It’s only in abandoning ourselves to follow Christ that we come to know true joy, life, and faith.
The problem for me, and apparently for the disciples, is that pride just doesn’t die. We may have buried our pride yesterday, only to find that it’s alive and well today. This is why Christ said we must deny ourselves daily. If we want to follow Jesus, and if we truly want to know faith, life, and recovery, we must continually choose humility, putting others ahead of ourselves. The reward for humility isn’t public recognition. It’s in abandoning the disaster of our way to follow Christ’s way.