(Posted October 21, 2016)
Quick now – think of someone you know who you consider to be humble, without an overblown ego. What is that person like? Would you hire that person for a leadership position?
If you said yes, congratulations. If you said no, perhaps somewhere along the line you’ve come to equate humility with being a pushover, a doormat. In reality, humble people make some of the best choices for leadership positions. This Sunday’s lectionary gospel is all about the contrast between the egotistic Pharisee and the sinful, humble tax collector. It’s one of those wonderful scriptures that we all can apply directly to our own lives. We’ve seen humble people in action – and their opposite.
I happened upon a wonderful Forbes Magazine article this week, by a writer who is an expert on leadership and communications in business. Jeff Boss – yes, that’s his name – outlines thirteen habits of humble people. Rather than being doormats, he states, “humble people are confident and competent in themselves so much that, as a result, they seek to self-actualize by helping theirs. …they just don’t feel the impetus to boast about themselves…” The tax collector who confesses in his heart before God knows who he is, flaws and all. By opening himself up to God, he opens up a world of possibilities. What are some of those traits that Mr. Boss identified? Here are a few on the list:
They’re Situationally Aware-- Situational awareness is a function of emotional intelligence as it is being aware of oneself, the group, the actions of each and the social dynamics …they aim their focus outward…
They Retain Relationships --Studies have shown that humble people are more likely to help friends than their prideful counterparts. As a result, they maintain stronger personal and professional relationships.
They Make Difficult Decisions With Ease-- Since humble people put others’ needs before their own, when faced with difficult decisions they respect the moral and ethical boundaries that govern the decision and base their decision on a sense of shared purpose…
They Put Others First-- Humble people know their self-worth. As a result, they don’t feel the need to cast themselves before others just to show them how much they know.
They Listen-- Humble people, however, actively listen to others before summarizing the conversation. Moreover, humble people don’t try to dominate a conversation or talk over people. They’re eager to understand others because they’re curious.…
They Speak Their Minds-- While active listening is certainly important, humble people aren’t afraid to speak their minds because being wrong is not a fear they have.
They Take Time To Say “Thank You”-- Humble people take the time to express thanks to [others] for tending to the little things.
They Have An Abundance Mentality-- Humble people don’t believe that one person’s “win” necessarily mean another person’s “loss.” Instead, they know there’s plenty of opportunity to go around and that finding it just necessitates collaboration and communication.
How many times during his earthly ministry did Jesus show us humility and humble people? From his own washing of his disciples’ feet, to the woman who bathed his own feet with her tears, to the leper who returns to thank Jesus for his healing, to the Samaritan who knew what he had to do when he found the battered man on the road – All of these are examples of humility. Lived humility that changes lives. See you Sunday when we delve deeper into what it means to be a servant of God. - Pastor Pat Kriss