For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. — Romans 12:3 (NIV)
Have you ever spent time with someone who is constantly boasting and bragging about themselves? It’s distasteful, wearying, and obnoxious.
image from SquareQuotes.church
According to himself, the president has done an incredible job handling Corona Virus (gives himself an A+); he has done an incredible job on the stock market; he’s done an incredible job of building the wall; he’s been incredible at calling up heads of states and having perfect phone calls; it’s been incredible what he’s done for the black community and the Hispanic community, and the military (don’t forget the military!); his administration “has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country” (direct quote from his speech before the U.N. in 2018); he is the only one standing between the American Dream and total anarchy (even he said that was an egotistical statement); and he is very good at predicting what will happen… (Most of these statements were taken from one very rambling speech at the Council for National Policy Meeting on August 21, 2020 in Arlington Virginia. You can read it here…)
“People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular,” Trump wrote in The Art of the Deal. “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration, and a very effective form of promotion.” Jill Colvin wrote “The Art of the Boast: Trump’s a Master in October of 2019, and found more than 1200 mentions of the words biggest, best, and smartest in his Twitter feed.
This way of looking at exaggeration and “truthful hyperbole” might be fine if one is a Celebrity Apprentice Reality TV star, but it looks less well on the President of the United States.
And that’s not an exaggeration…
Kara Baker on Flickr.com
“Talk no more so very proudly; let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.” — 1 Samuel 2:3 (ESV)
I remember an early conversation with one of my sisters as I was considering the Christian life. I had made the comment that I didn’t think I was so bad. I’d lived a pretty decent life without too many terrible actions compared to a lot of other people i knew. And she gently told me the truth: we are not compared to other people; we are compared to Jesus — the sinless one who gave his life for us, so that we could have a life of relationship with the Holy God.
Those Old Testament people of God were always striving, always trying, always failing to be close to the Holy God of Israel. And it is by this Holy God that our actions are weighed, our thoughts are judged, our hearts are known according to their essential worth. That’s a scary thought because we can never be that holy perfection that God desires of us; we are sinful humans. Jesus died to provide that holiness for us. And yes, that means that there is no perfect human who could be president of the United States.
I don’t want someone who is perfect. I only want someone who is not proud or arrogant; someone who knows that his or her actions will be judged by the Holy God; someone humble enough to know that he or she does not have all the answers; someone who can admit they are wrong; a humble servant rather than an arrogant king.
This graphic comes from Square Quotes.
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” — Mark 9:35 (ESV)
In yesterday’s post we discussed God’s requirements for earthly kings in the Old Testament. Mostly those kings failed miserably.
But God’s plan included providing a perfect king for his people: Jesus, the god-man, who would spend three years discipling his motley crew of twelve, and then become the sacrifice for all people. Through his sacrifice, grace has come, and we no longer have to be constantly worried about displeasing God.
But in that short span of three years Jesus showed and taught us how to live: as a servant — humble and concerned about our neighbors, friends, and enemies over ourselves. It is the hardest principle for our selfish selves to get right, yet it changes everything when we manage it.
Servant leadership! What a concept! That the leader is a servant to all, not lording it over everyone about his power. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” — Matthew 20:25-26. (ESV)
Here is a direct quote from President Trump on April 13, 2020: “When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to be. It’s total.”
If that doesn’t frighten you to death, what will?
A servant leader is humble, listens before speaking, and considers the good of all people, not just a few.
Don’t you yearn for that servant leader?