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Posted on Jan 8, 2013 in Humility, Lost Virtues

Lost Virtues: The Death of Humility – Part 3 – A world of Sumo wresters

“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” ― Andrew Murray, Humility

Sumo wrestlers vs. wearing a Sumo suit.

I was thinking about humility this morning and I had this thought. It might not make sense at first, but let me explain. I thought about just leaving it like that and see what your response would be, but I just couldn’t do that to you.

As you may or may not know, I am a fan of “The Office.” I cannot recommend the show to you, because it is not the most righteous of shows, but we’re committed to the show. There is one episode that aired quite a while ago where Michael is trying to use unconventional means to choose who would be his replacement if he got another job. One part of the competition was wearing inflatable Sumo suits and having a Sumo wrestling competition. I’ll let you imagine the results. It’s more fun that way.

Now, to the connection. As I was thinking about humility, I was trying understand what it is that keeps us from being truly humble. And I had this thought, when we are too full of ourselves, there is no room for humility. When I started thinking about there not being enough room, this was the image that came to mind. I’m sure it says something about me, but I don’t know what…

A real Sumo wrestler is literally full of himself in comparison to somewhere wearing a Sumo suit. A real Sumo wrestler couldn’t fit into a Sumo suit. No offense if you are one…but a real Sumo wrestler is not too easy on the eyes. However, someone wearing a Sumo suit has room for something else besides himself in the suit. If we are too full of ourselves, there is no room in us for anything but us.

And that is where I see a lot of our world today. We live in a world of Sumo wrestlers. Instead of having room to be filled with something out of this world, we are full or ourselves and everything we can absorb in this world.

This is not just my idea, or Mr. Murray’s, it’s biblical:

24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12:24-26 – NIV ’84)

If we seek to be full of ourselves, our reward will be…drum roll…ourselves. If we seek to empty ourselves of our pride, selfish ambition and vain conceit just as Christ did, then there is room for God to do work in us and through us. Isn’t that a much better reward? I’d much rather have heaven living in me than a Sumo Wrester. How you read that sentence, is not how I meant it, but oh well.

Personally, I don’t want to be a Sumo wrestler. Having to wear that revealing outfit would be terrifying.

What about you?

 

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Posted on Dec 28, 2012 in Humility, Leadership, Lost Virtues

Lost Virtues: The Death of Humility – Part 2

“Count no day lost in which you waited your turn, took only your share and sought advantage over no one.” Robert Brault

A couple of weeks ago, I started a series entitled “Lost Virtues.” And as I get into it just a little bit, I am seeing just how deep this issue might be. It seems that virtue is a forgotten word, and the values that can be defined within the word have lost significance by all but a few.

One of my biggest concerns with the state of virtue in our society is the lack of example that exists. Not just from Hollywood and the ego-maniacs that come out of there. But there are two significant areas of our culture that I believe require virtue in order to run efficiently that are now overcome with the absence of it. Those are the government and the church.

In fact, as I write this post, we are in the midst of a battle over the “fiscal cliff.” (Which, by the way, I believe will be known in the future as one of the worst decisions congress has ever made. Specifically, agreeing on a fiscal cliff. For a congress that couldn’t agree on any sort of budget for 3 years prior, it should have been foreseen that the likelihood of them coming together on any significant issue would be highly improbable.)

However, to the issue of this post. While the issue of spending too much money and raising taxes is greatly concerning to me, it is what has led us to this edge that ought be a major point of worry for us all. Our government is full of men and women who could be described as the opposite of the quote for this day. Their quote might read “Count now day lost in which you stole someone’s turn, took from their shares and sought advantage over everyone.”

From state and local representatives to the highest office in the land, for all political parties, it seems that promotion of self has trumped being a servant for the people. There is no greater evidence of this than the actual living out of those personalities in our government. Neither party knows what compromise means. It seems the working definition is the opposition must concede on everything. From our outside perspective, the observation is that our “leaders” are seeking a personal advantage and that is what is driving their decision-making more than what is right and best for the people they are supposed to be serving. Those elected to public service now believe it is the duty of those they were elected to serve to instead, serve them.

Another great concern I have is that the church in America is also getting caught up in the same philosophical ideals. Those who have been chosen to serve the body of Christ now seem more concerned with their image and well-being, than with the spiritual health of the body they should be leading. Our leaders no longer lead by example. Instead, they have become better than that which they preach. “It is for the people to practice what I preach, no me.” While you may never actually hear those words, you will indubitably see it in practice.

Our church leaders are more concerned with their own stability and security than they are with the mission of the church. Decisions aren’t made because they are what the body needs, they are made to maintain the status quo and, in so doing, the fiscal security of those in charge.

We are also consumed with competition. We have to keep up with what other churches are doing at any cost. It doesn’t matter if it seems unwise, we go after it. The ideas may not fit our particular congregation and we may not be able to afford them, but we pursue them anyway.

The last I heard leadership wasn’t about the leader. Perhaps this is where we have gone astray. Our culture loves a hero and a good on-screen personality. Could it be that the best leaders are the ones we never see on the screen or whose names we never read in the headlines? Leadership is about serving the people. It’s about using the gifts and wisdom God has granted you to lead and move people in the direction they ought to go. Leadership is not about getting people to do stuff for the leader. It is not about stroking the ego of said leader nor about the leader at all. The leaders’ job is to serve. It is only in getting back to this that we will find the real answer or society needs.

Perhaps we can build a movement of men and women who are more concerned about others than they are themselves? Perhaps we won’t even take our share, but give part of our share to someone in need. We shouldn’t take advantage of anyone, but rather do what we can to help those who need a little help. And maybe, we could let someone else have our turn, instead of blindly looking out only for ourselves.

Will you join me in creating a culture-shift and rebuilding a culture that is more concerned with others than with ourselves?

How do you think we can do this?

Would you leave your idea in a comment below?

Click here to leave a comment!

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Posted on Dec 17, 2012 in Family, Humility, Leadership, Lost Virtues, Worship

Lost Virtues: The Death of Humility – Part 1

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” ― C.S. Lewis

There has been a lot of talk lately about how bad things are. Everything is getting worse, people are getting worse, the planet is changing, species of animals are dying and for crying out loud, the world is ending on Friday. I mean, I can sit on a couch, watch my 10 month old daughter play, listen to an awful jazz arrangement of Coldplay’s clocks and write about how bad things are. That must mean things are out of control.

Well, sure, I’ll admit that I’m a bit concerned for our culture. And as much as I may enjoy a good doomsday show, my concern isn’t one you’ll be likely to read in a headline somewhere. At least from news outlets who seem more concerned about ratings than common decency (but don’t get me started on that rant…).

You see, it seems to me that the modern age is where humility has come to die.

Goodbye selflessness, hello ego-centric world. You’re welcome in to my atmosphere as long as you don’t try to make things about you.

You’d think that with all of the advances in science that have been made in the last two centuries, we’d be more convinced than ever that the world doesn’t revolve around us. Yet, it’s becoming harder and harder to find anyone that truly thinks of others more than themselves.

Stop for a minute and think, how many people do you know who are truly humble? I can imagine, you’d have to scroll through most of the letters in your address book before you found someone who is truly humble.

Can we become agents of change? Can we be catalysts for humility? I just can’t imagine the benefit of a society that becomes more concerned with themselves than they are with the community at large.

Real concern.

Not the patronizing kind that’s offensive and still makes you out to be a little better than me.

Real concern for one another.

The Question is, where does humility come from? C.S. Lewis gives us a good start. Let’s start there for today. Perhaps we can just think of ourselves a little less today than we did yesterday.

Where do you think humility begins? 

Join the conversation for change today! Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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