Humility is the primary virtue God looks for when He chooses someone to advance His kingdom.
Philippians 2:3-10 — “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for their own interests, but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for his own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death on a cross.”
Humility is ultimately expressed by choosing the posture of a servant. The servant’s ultimate act of humility is they make their life a sacrifice for the good of others. Jesus teaches us that a leader should serve his people. But more than that, He teaches us a view of God that radically transforms our thinking. Up until this moment in history, the gods were gods of power, might, fury and wisdom. Jesus revealed that God is the purest form of humility. Servant wasn’t new to God. Humility was the path of God.
Matthew 11:29 — “Take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.” The heart of God is gentle and humble. God is a servant. This is the quality of God we desire the least. Servanthood is not an elevated status. We think it is beneath God and we hope it is beneath us.
So, if this is who God is, it makes sense who He will choose and that is, the person who chooses the heart of God, he who chooses to be humble of spirit. James 4 – “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humility is the attribute at the core God is looking for when He is choosing people. Moses was chosen by God not because he was the most skilled but … Numbers 12:3 – “Moses was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”
God will not reject you if you’re too messed up. You may be a mess but God does amazing things through messy people. Broken? God takes broken people and does amazing things through them. Lifetime of failure? God will not oppose you because you’re a failure, broken, not educated enough, not talented enough but God will shelve you… if you’re too proud. God rejects the arrogant, not the sinful.
We want to be great and Jesus has a process for that — it is to be the servant of all. That’s OK. I’m happy to be a servant for now so that I can get to be great. “if you want to be first, you must be last.” Yes! I’ll be last … so I can be first. But that isn’t what Jesus means. We’re all OK with this as long as it looks like a Jesus J-curve. That is, I’m willing to be a servant and go down … for a while … as long as the curve turns and I eventually get to be great.
But Jesus thinks greatness is servanthood. Humility is the final destination. Choosing to be last, is first. The seat that chooses humility, servanthood and sacrifice is the seat of most honor. The most extraordinary thing Jesus taught us about humility is that God is humble and because we’re created in His image and likeness, our souls thrive in humility.
It is only the humble that God entrusts with His power and glory.
The “incurvatus” man – that man that is curved in upon himself, focused on his needs, his desires, his agenda, his pain, his circumstances – that man is arrogant, self-centered, self-advancing. The Excurvatus man – that man that is living outward for others, emptying himself so others can advance – at his core, when you meet a man like that, you will know his humility. The brash, arrogant, self-promoting man seems to be the man that gets ahead in this life. Yet, it is the humble man, the man that chooses the seat of least honor, that gives his money and talents away so others can advance, it is that man who gets “ahead” in the Kingdom to come. It is that man who lives out and understands grace. He understands all power is bestowed and from dirt he came and to the dirt he will return. He knows God’s favor upon him is of no doing of his own. He didn’t earn it. It was given to him, freely by a God that humbled Himself even to death upon the Cross.
In the movie Les Miserables, we see such a picture. A picture of grace. Jean Val Jean is a criminal. He toils away for 19 years in a rock quarry of his sin. He’s in the darkness. He’s encouraged to knock upon a certain door and the Bishop answers the door and invites him in. He is fed and given a bed for the night but Jean turns back to his sin despite God’s pursuit of him. He steals the silver and leaves the light and enters back into darkness. Later he is arrested and brought back to the Bishop (God). He is redeemed. Set free. The treasure freely given to him. Ransomed from a life of fear and hatred.
And so men, as we end The Best of Manschool, here is the call to you. What will you do? What will you be? The bag of silver has been thrust back into your chest. Given to you. Unearned. Unmerited favor just handed to you. Before, you were a criminal. We all were. We toiled away in our sin and God opened the door and let us in and blessed us with a bag of silver (salvation). Now, I must ask you … what are you going to do with it? Will your life from this day forward be all about you and your advancement … or … will you take up the heart of a servant and willingly, freely, happily give up all the treasure of this temporary world so you can go forth and advance the Kingdom of God?