“. . . but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” – Philippians 2:7
What makes us laugh at jokes and comedy is that they smack at the truth, do they not? They’re funny because we see in the mirror our own flaws and absurdities, and how silly we are. There is a novelty song you may recall performed by country singer Mac Davis back in the early 1980’s that goes like this: “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble / When you’re perfect in every way / I can’t wait to look in the mirror / Cause I get better looking each day / To know me is to love me / I must be a heck of a man / Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble / But I’m doing the best that I can.”
The intention of the song, of course, is to make us laugh at ourselves. Yet, there is an element of truth in it, at least there is for me. In fact, I must confess that for most of my life, unlike the song lyrics, I’ve never even tried to be humble. For humility, as we’ve been taught to believe, is not what gets us employed in the best companies, gets us promoted, or brings in the top clients. Instead, we’re encouraged to spice up our résumés or create clever websites that boast of our skills, accomplishments and credentials. Humility, although a great virtue, just doesn’t sell very well in the marketplace. Or does it? But it’s hard.
Consider the story about George Washington, who at the conclusion of the American Revolution, many leaders supported to become monarch of the newly formed nation. What would he do with such power within his grasp? Would Washington yield to its temptation, or stick to his ideals of freedom and liberty? But England’s King George III, though himself a monarch, was nevertheless convinced that if Washington resisted the power-pull he would be “the greatest man in the world.” We, of course, know the rest of the story. Wonder where we would be today if he had chosen power over humility?
The greatest story, though, occurred two thousand years ago when the Creator of the Universe visited our planet in human form, “but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” Yet, in complete humility and with no fancy résumé, He changed the world forever and ever. So, what does it tell us when the father of our country and the King of the Universe chose humility over power or pride? Did not Jesus offer the perfect example of how we should live? But, oh Lord it’s hard to be humble. Isn’t it?