Authority Under Control
Humility isn’t incompatible with great power or influence; if you’re humble, you don’t have to be a person who just sits in the corner and never accomplishes anything. Abraham, Moses, and Jesus had authority and they were humble. Humility is authority under control. It is velvet-covered steel. Humility is handling the power, influence, and authority in such a way that God is honored and you are not compromised.
Remember Abraham and Lot’s journey in Genesis 13. Abraham could have exercised his authority and taken the best land, but he chose not to do that. He chose to serve Lot and be a leader. He correctly handled the power and influence God had given him by choosing to serve his nephew rather than taking the advantage.
J. Oswald Sanders writes in his classic book, Spiritual Leadership:
In training His disciples for their coming positions of authority, He [Jesus] told them they must not be pompous or overbearing like the Oriental despots, but humble and lowly like their Master (Matthew 20:25-27). The spiritual leader will choose the hidden pathway of sacrificial service and the approval of his Lord rather than the flamboyant assignment and the adulation of the unspiritual crowd.
When we are leaders characterized by humility, we choose to serve. We choose to place the authority we have under control of the One who asks us to love Him and others first.
Have you seen a humble leader in action? How did people respond? What about leaders who are prideful and arrogant? How do people respond? How has Jesus helped you to be a better leader? Let me know your thoughts.
Steve Berger is Pastor of Grace Chapel in Leipers Fork, TN. He is the author of Have Heart: Bridging the Gulf Between Heaven and Earth as well as a number of Bible Study guides.