A well-known preacher flies into town for a citywide crusade. He expects to be greeted at the airport by a delegation of prestigious pastors. Instead, an old taxi driver holding a piece of cardboard with the preacher's name misspelled waits at baggage claim and then drops him off at a second-class hotel. The room is small, the bed uncomfortable, the service lousy, and there is not even a fruit basket or welcome note. When no one calls or takes him out to dinner, he feels deeply offended and says to himself, "How dare they treat me like this? Don't they know who I am? They don't deserve my ministry. That's the last time I'm coming to this place."
The next morning, however, all his honor and good fortunes are quickly restored after the organizers discover that their guest speaker had become a victim of miscommunication.
Could it be that this incident was not an unfortunate mix-up, but rather the Lord testing His servant's humility? After all, He had sent this man to represent Himself, the Christ of the New Testament. And in the Gospels, we see so clearly that Jesus was genuinely humble in His dealings with others.
The Greatest Glory
Before Jesus went to the cross, the most important thing on His mind was to train up a handful of disciples so they could communicate the Gospel to the whole world. But His approach was not based on fantastic plans, schemes, committee meetings or mega–Madison Avenue strategies. He basically said to His disciples, "You learn from Me. And My qualification for being your example is that I am humble" (see Matthew 11:29).
So Christ alone must be our example of humility. Philippians 2:7–8 describes very well just how humble He was: ". . . but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men. . . . He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
What was the key to Christ's humility? It was deeply rooted in His understanding and accepting the truth that the greatest glory in heaven and on earth is to be the servant of all. That's the reason why prophetic passages like Isaiah 53 portray Him as a servant, and Psalm 40:8 describes Him saying: "I delight to do Your will, O my God."
A Positive Thing
If there is no greater glory than being a servant of all, then much of our 21st-century Church is miles away from the pattern Christ left us. Our worldly view of glory is precisely where we need to get our understanding set straight.
The moment we realize that it is God's will for us to follow Christ's humility, we often get this negative feeling that we are about to become a broken, selfless creature everyone can trample on.
However, the humility God calls us to is far more than being broken from our pride and sin. It is something entirely positive and wonderful. It is participating in the very nature of Jesus.
Pride caused Lucifer, the most beautiful, powerful and intelligent angel, to fall and become Satan, who led man into sin. And it was Christ's humility that saved and lifted fallen man from the pit of hell to sit on His throne with Him. Shouldn't that be the reason for our desire to follow Christ's humility above all else?
It Begins with One Step
When we seek to become like Christ, we often start by making a long list of spiritual exercises we plan to do to make it happen. However, the foundation of becoming like Christ in humility—as well as in all other virtues—begins with this one step: "Take My yoke upon you" (Matthew 11:29).
If I carry a yoke on my neck, it means that I no longer stand up straight. I once saw a postcard with the words "Not I, but Christ" written on it. To illustrate, the artist had drawn a man standing up tall inside the letter "I." Then he drew the same man inside the letter "C," but now the man had to bend over to fit.
This humility of Christ will not become a reality in my life by accident, by wishing for it, by studying about it or by fasting and praying for it. It only comes by my deliberate willingness to obey what Jesus told me to do: to take His yoke upon me. That means from now on, Jesus and I are yoked together. Where He goes, I go; where He turns, I turn; when He stops to comfort a widow, bless a child or wash His disciples' feet, I do the same.
As I learn from Him how to walk under His yoke, I discover that the yoke is easy and my heart is at peace. And by submitting to His yoke and imitating Him, His gentleness and humility will become mine.
My dear friend, will you take this first step today and decide to take His yoke upon you? There is no other way to develop the humility that represents the Lord Jesus.