Today’s meanderings have brought me several references to humility. First, I saw this retweeted by a friend:
That quote not only promotes humility but condemns vanity. I caught both, particularly as they related to spiritual leadership.
Then I was reading Tim Keller’s Prayer.
I can’t give any specific quotes here, but I again caught several references to thinking too much about self and how so doing skews prayer.
And then, as if Keller hadn’t done enough damage, he tossed this one out on Twitter.
This was not only a reference to humility, but a reference which possibly undermined the others. After all, if true humility means I stop connected every experience with myself, then maybe I should conclude that the previous two encounters with humility weren’t about me. It’s very much like this song:
The wisdom of that last tweet notwithstanding, the truth of the matter is that I need to give some thought to humility. I think all spiritual leaders need to give some thought to humility. It is hard to be humble in spiritual leadership because so much of spiritual leadership centers (or at least seems to) on personality.
Take the title of this blog for example. I named it after me. It is my name. It is my name in a particularly arrogant form (not just “Doug McCoy”, which is what I normally call myself, but “Douglas A McCoy”; this was chosen, by the way, because dougmccoy.com as already taken). And I didn’t want to name it that. But I also didn’t want to name it anything else. I thought about calling it “The Walk With God” or “The Life Of Faith” or something less me, but I thought that was kind of arrogant as well. That could be interpreted as me thinking I alone had knowledge of the walk God, that all you needed to know about the life of faith could come from me.
And there are several dilemmas like that in ministry. There are several opportunities to put myself out alongside my God-given message, to put myself out even more than or above my message. And that dilemma really distresses me. The thought that I might not be humble or “humble enough” (whatever that means) gives me serious pause. I know some people will find this concern ridiculous; I think, in fact, it was ridiculed in this line on an episode of The Simpsons:
But it is a concern I have nonetheless.
And I think it is possible. I think it is possible to be ever more humble. I think it is definitely possible to deliver my God-given message without making myself a part of the delivery. I just don’t know how to do it yet. Please give me a little mercy on that, and I’ll do the same for you.