Humility is not putting yourself down. It’s seeing yourself as you really are. It’s not thinking, “How small I am.” It’s not thinking of yourself at all.
What appears to some as humility may be inferiority. Think of the wallflower at the dance who pulls into her shell, makes eye contact with no one, and sits there moping, “No one likes me. No one wants to dance with me.” The truth is, she’s the most egotistical person in the hall. The belle of the ball, the young lady who is charming everyone by her dazzling smile and sunny personality, is the very opposite: she’s not preoccupied with herself at all. She’s thinking of others, and they are responding to her attention.
For some reason the ministry seems to attract more than its share of not-very-humble persons. I suppose it has to do with the fact that they are “performing.” People are sitting in pews and looking up to them, and it goes to their heads. Poor things. If they only knew.
I’ve been in pastors offices where the walls were literally covered with plaques and framed certificates. The office was a shrine to the minister. I’ve seen ministers receive doctorates, then change every sign in the building to reflect their new status, and make sure the secretary never misses an opportunity to add his new title to his name.
Read a pastor’s resume when you get a chance. Or an evangelist–they tend to be even worse. Notice the ones that are quick to cover themselves in the glory of large pastorates or successful revivals or books published or other awards. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
These are our spiritual leaders, the ones sent to teach character and integrity to the rest of us.
There are so many reasons to be humble and so many temptations not to.
Judging from his epistles, the Apostle Paul had to deal with the problem of arrogance and pride in the various churches where he served. In his letter to the church at Corinth, he took on those who were “arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” Think of the way high school or colleges promote their football teams and put down their opponents; that’s what was happening in Corinth.
Paul asks these boastful believers three questions: