In writing on the subject of humility, I need to at the very outset acknowledge my indebtedness to many who are far wiser, and more eloquent than I am, and also those who through their example in life have shown what true humility is.
I have found that I have learnt so much about this quality in life. Following on from ambition, I am looking at another quality that is examined by Jewish during this time of counting the Omer. Again, I am looking at it as a Christian, however what I say, I hope will resonate with you, regardless of whether you are a Christian or not.
Isn't it interesting that humility follows hot on the heals of Ambition – for while ambition is reaching up and touching the heavens, humility is the awareness that no matter how hard we try, we can't reach the heavens without help. In my previous blog on ambition – I said that one of our ambitions is to spend eternity with God. I also said that because of the chasm of sin that separates us, we could not achieve ambition, except that we know that God himself provided a way through Jesus Christ, and that it is because of His death and resurrection, that anyone can enter into a relationship with God and have any hope of spending eternity with him. Sadly, there are many people who are still convinced that there must be some other way, that they refuse to cross over by the one and only way and are trying by their own efforts to reach God through. It is as futile as a little child reaching up to 'touch the clouds'.
There are many misconceptions about what humility is. Humility is not denying one's own abilities, but regarding them as tools and getting on with the tasks that we are set, and not boasting either to ourselves or to our neighbour about that which we have or can do.
Humility is the understanding that we each are part of a community and that we need to put the needs of those around us above our own needs, or at least on the same level. It is also the understanding that, despite my learning, I may not have the right answer for any given situation and that others in the community may provide that answer, and instead of sulking because I am not the 'man of the hour', rejoice along with the community that the answer has been found.
While ambition drives us to want to be that man or woman, humility makes us acknowledge that there are others too who can fulfil that role. As Prime Minister Gordon Brown has learnt, he may have wanted to 'save the world' from the impending economic disaster, in fact, his solution was no solution. In leadership, whether it is on an international and political level or on a local level, the quality of humility is a most important ingredient to success. No-one can have all the right answers and know everything. The most competent of leaders will surround themselves with qualified advisors to help them when it comes to setting out policy. So we have established that firstly leaders need to humility to realise that their rank in society is not due only to their own efforts but with the others who help them along the way, and as such they should acknowledge this, but also, leaders need humility to understand that they are there to serve and not only to be waited on hand and foot.
The United Kingdom Parliament has a received a wake-up call in this regard as the reports of how a number of members of parliament from all sides of the house have abused the “expense allowances” scheme to such a great extent and the populace are justifiably annoyed, that in a time of economic straits, these people are living it up, it would seem, at tax payers expense. They seemed to think they could get away with it as it was supposed to be secret and kept out of the public eye. Their hypocrisy has been exposed.
I have written much more on this topic, but decided that it will have to wait and be posted as a separate blog. in a few days time. I have written about how Jesus both exemplified humility as He washed the feet of His disciples and how he has taught us that we need to show our allegiance to him not with grand proclamations , but in our actions and in the way we interact with others.
Humble Yourself in the Sight of the Lord – HPYG