This is my second in a series of posts on church planting.
A few years ago, my two oldest daughters and I helped construct a home in Guatemala for a very poor man. Until then, Vincénte, his wife and children shared a tiny apartment with his in-laws. He was such a humble man, meek and lowly of heart. He was vice-president of his church board and earned only four dollars a day, carrying bone-crushing loads of dirt down a steep mountain all day long.
Upon our return, my oldest shared some pictures of our experience with her Spanish teacher, a native of Peru. She looked at the photos with interest and commented, “I see you’ve all got your ‘We’ve Come to Help your Country’ bandanas on.”
Wow. What a revelation. I do projects around the house all the time – painting, yard work… even plumbing and electrical work, all without a square of gaudy fabric tied around my head. (A ball cap sometimes, but never a bandana.) Did I wear it to look more official? Being an avid sunbather, I certainly didn’t wear it for protection from the rays. I concluded that my choice of headgear was some sort of unconscious self-aggrandizement and felt a sense of humiliation.
C. S. Lewis wrote, “If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud.”
As my husband and I build our launch team for the church plant, I am daily realizing that humility is an important aspect of our calling. Pride is dangerously wicked. It is an internal battle, and if we do not safeguard our souls from it, it will ultimately result in a lack of love. We cannot allow insidious pride to take root if we are to live for others. We have chosen to love people and give ourselves for them, with Jesus leading the way.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Do you desire to be cured from the longing to receive honor from men? Humility requires us to empty ourselves and to let God reproduce this quality of Christ in our lives. We cannot accomplish it on our own, since humility is in fact acknowledging that we cannot do anything on our own. Joyfully accept humiliation as a means of grace, and take pleasure in it. Give up the honor of “me,” and look out for someone else today.
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1958), 99.