Humble Pie - Monday Musing, November 16, 2020
Humble Pie. It is said that the expression, “eat humble pie,” means to be forced to apologize humbly. Not that I currently have anything to apologize for (that I’m aware of), and not that pie is on my mind (although who is not thinking about pie this time of year), the word humble itself has stayed with me since yesterday’s worship service. Jesus says, “The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humble, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matt 23:11-12)
In my message I focused on servant, saying this is an invitation to model what it means to be a reflection of God in the world. But what about the humble part? What does it mean to be humble in today’s world when most people believe they have all the answers and are always right? If humility is defined as putting the needs of others before our own, and thinking of others before self, how is that any different from being a servant?
According to Dan Cable, when leaders are humble, “They can benefit from the expertise of others who have less power than them. They actively seek the ideas and unique contributions of the employees that they serve. This is how servant leaders create a culture of learning, and an atmosphere that encourages followers to become the very best they can.” This fits well with what Jesus has to say. A servant leader focuses not on self and the power that they possess, but on others and how both can be better people.
Humility is not outdated or old fashioned. In an era when many complain about increasing selfishness in this me-focused world, perhaps we could all benefit from developing a humbler approach. Things to consider: recognizing that we are not always right and do not have all the answers; spending time actually listening to others – and hearing what they have to say; being grateful and thankful for what we have; asking for help; seeking feedback; and checking to make sure that the language we use is not boastful.
As people of faith, how do we display acts of humility? In what ways do we characterize ourselves as being humble? Humility is an understanding that every human is equally valuable – recognizing that we are worth no more or no less than anyone else. Look to the One we follow as a guide to emulate, imitating Jesus, who “came not to be served but to serve” humbly, always concerned about those who did not have power, privilege, or status. As Tim McGraw sings, “Always stay humble and kind / Go to church ’cause your pastor says to…” (oops, editing error, the correct lyric is ’cause your “mamma” says to – my bad!).
May our humility lead us to Jesus, and by doing so be the best humble servant we can. As for pie, this time of year I prefer pumpkin.