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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

21 Nov '14

Appealing to our vanity

Posted by T.J. Addington in humility, pride
From time to time I receive "notice" that I have been chosen as an outstanding contributor in some field and that upon the acceptance of my application (and significant fee) I may be approved to be included in this exclusive list of names to be listed in a fancy volume so that I can purchase it and put it on my shelf. 

Of course, this is not about my great accomplishments but someone making money but the fact that they publish said volumes year after year is indication that there is no shortage of vanity to take advantage of. My latest accomplishments seem to be in the field of HR which my own HR office would find highly comic, and highly suspect.

Studies show that we consistently overrate our abilities and wisdom and underrate out weaknesses and mistakes. No matter, we know better and often think of ourselves more highly than we should.

Those in Christian service who see success often start to buy the press they (we) receive. It is a dangerous path to walk down. The leaders I admire the most are the most ordinary of people, real people, who have not allowed anyone to place them on a pedestal, who discount the adulation they receive because they both know themselves well and know who gave them any gifts they possess. It is their humility and humanity (and these two go together) that endear them to others. 

Pride is one of the most often named sins in Scripture because God hates the haughty but loves the humble. The humble, after all, reflect the character of Jesus (Philippians 2). The humble reflect the character of God who has no need to be humble in any sense. As the beatitudes say, "blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." I have made it an "unseen practice" when people are praising me to inwardly say, "Jesus it is all yours and any praise that comes to me is your deserved praise." I cannot claim credit for gifts that God gave me to steward. He was the source and His is the praise. It is why I am always uncomfortable in that situation.

It is easy to think we are humble. It is a lifelong discipline to stay humble, especially for those who are in the limelight. I will always remember the funeral of my mother in law, one of the most humble people I ever met. The place was packed. Not because she was somebody in circles that "mattered." Rather because from behind the scenes, she lived out her faith in humble acts of kindness that endeared her to all who came to her service. I receive accolades in this life. She may receive more of them in heaven. 

Guarding ourselves against vanity and practicing humility is one of the more important disciplines for those who end up in the lime light. 

All of T.J. Addington's books are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 discount on orders of ten or more.