In the high school where I work, we spend quality time every few years reviewing our school’s mission statement for students. Like most other high schools, ours has over the years used words such as respect, polite, equality, acceptance, community, and compassion. We point to the core values of the mission statement daily as we work with teenagers.
I know someone who writes an annual mission statement for himself (I will be doing a future article on personal mission statements) and displays it above his desk. He even prints it on small cards to keep in his wallet and tape to all his phones to remind himself how he should treat others and why he is on this earth. He says he is determined he’s not going to be merely a “Sunday Christian.”
Philippians 2:1-11 provides a beautiful mission statement for anyone looking to define their own walk in this world. Read it with me:
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?
Any comfort from his love?
Any fellowship together in the Spirit?
Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other,
loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
The central theme in this passage is humility. I don’t know about you, but humility is a word that scares me because I too often lack it. My default response is to look after myself and make sure others know how I’m helping them too. Ego, pride, call it what you will—it’s a stumbling block for me.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about servanthood in both a leadership capacity and in my everyday walk. I’d like to share with you some practical statements from one of the pastors in my church. They hang above my desk to help me keep my eye on the humility ball:
What cultivates humility?
1. An understanding that any success in my life is rooted in the sacrifice of others, and especially the ultimate sacrifice by Jesus Christ.
2. An understanding that my knowledge will always be incomplete.
3. An understanding that I become humble when I forge relationships with humble people.
What characterizes humility?
1. Me becomes we.
2. Grip becomes give.
3. Serve us becomes service.
Your challenge of the day:
Fill in the blank: One way I will cultivate humility in my life is:
Jesus Christ humbled himself by becoming a common man even though he knew he was Lord of all the earth. He humbled himself by allowing people to spit on him, humiliate him, and kill him so he could save you and me. That’s ultimate humility. He didn’t stand up and say, “How dare you! Do you know who I am?” He humbly walked the earth with purpose, and his Father—our Father—was very pleased.
Ron DeBoer is vice-principal at Eastwood Collegiate Institute and author of Questions from the Pickle Jar: Teens and Sex (http://www.faithaliveresources.com/pickle). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.