“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others,” Philippians 2:3.
After sitting in my prayer closet today with this verse from Philippians I saw with my very own eyes a delightful sampling of it lived out as an illustration for my prayerful reflection…and now it’s offered for you too.
How was it illustrated? Well, this morning our church services were canceled due to Hurricane Irene’s descent upon our region. It appears that our neighbor’s church wasn’t taking that precaution.
As I stood by our kitchen window cleaning out the coffee pot, I first noticed one of the young boys next door leap out of the garage into the torrential rain. He was apparently testing for the rest of the family how hard the rain was falling. He had a huge grin on his face and a delightful frolic to his aerobic movements. After running back into the garage, he and his older brother reemerged in the rain and jumped into the car. A moment later, their father appeared just outside the garage holding an open umbrella. Within a few seconds, his wife (the boys’ mother) stood reflectively under the umbrella and then nodded her readiness to make their way to the car. Her husband graciously put his left arm around her back and they proceeded together to the passenger side of the car. After safely and without unnecessary raindrops falling on her head or shoulders as the door was opened, she slipped into her seat. He gently closed the door, walked to the driver’s side and off they went to church (their weekly pattern all the years they’ve been our neighbors). You get the picture.
Humility at its root is a choice of the heart to consider the humility of Christ and determine in heart, soul, mind and strength, to follow his costly example. Unselfish consideration of the needs and interests of another are the fruit of humility. The attitude of the God-honoring heart, inclined continuously toward Christlikeness, is what features life-changing service to another (from the simplest of tasks to the more onerous, challenging, pride-popping ones).
In our prayer books this past week there was a reading by Kallistos Ware that arrested me in its profundity. “At the sight of human sin (or need, my insertion), one wonders whether to combat it by force or by humble love. Always decide ‘I will combat it by humble love.’ If you resolve on that once for all, you can conquer the whole world. Loving humility is a terrible force: it is the strongest of all things, and there is nothing like it.”
In humility…consider Christ and in turn consider others better than yourselves. Leap out in the rain for another; lift up an umbrella of loving protection; guide another to safety; and don’t let selfish ambition or vain conceit ever get in the way. There is nothing else that comes close to the gracious power of humble love offered in the name of Christ. Make that your single focus today!