I am convinced that the true test of humility and servanthood is that of lifting other up, helping them succeed and flourish rather than lifting ourselves up. Jesus modeled this when He made it clear that He was about His Father's business and everything He did was to make His Father look good. What is amazing is that Jesus was part of the Godhead and yet he continually lifted the Father up.
All of us have emotional needs and egos. It is hard to lift up others at our expense - and I am convinced that this is a result of the fall and our need to be number one and the one in the spotlight. Yet, what is most important is not our own ego needs but that we make Jesus well known and His reputation great. It is never about us so why do we make it about us?
When Paul talks about treating others as more important than ourselves he is both emulating the example of Jesus and teaching us how important is is to focus on others rather than ourselves. The lower nature focuses on us. The fruit of the Spirit focuses on others more than ourselves. A mark of maturity is our willingness and desire to see others succeed rather than ourselves be in the limelight.
I don't pretend this is easy. Our pride wants to trumpet ourselves. Humility trumpets others. Our pride wants the credit. Humility gives credit away. Our pride wants the spotlight. Humility gives the spotlight to others. Why? Because what matters in the end is not our celebrity but our influence for Jesus. For most of us, that influence is behind the scenes and seeks to lift others up rather than ourselves.
This is a battle most of us who are in leadership will fight all of our lives. I want to win that battle. After all, life is not about me. It is all about Jesus. To the extent that I get that and live that I will be successful. Ironically, to the extent that I promote myself I will be unhappy and unsuccessful because the more self promotion we do the more we need. We choose which path we take. Either life is about us or it is not.
Staff know which route leaders take. They know when it is about the leader and they know when it is about the leader doing all they can to make them successful. We may fool ourselves but we never fool those we lead. Hopefully we don't fool ourselves either! It indicates our pride or our humility.
Ironically, the more we lift others up the greater our influence for the Kingdom. In doing so we multiply ourselves.
All of T.J. Addington's books including his latest, Deep Influence, are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 per book discount on orders of ten or more.