By Sam Fink
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)
By the time he wrote his first letter, the Apostle Peter knew both that we need to be humble, and that Jesus humbles us so we cast our anxieties, failures, and sin upon him.
You might remember that Peter had personally been humbled a few times, even by Jesus himself! When Peter tried to talk Jesus out of dying, Jesus humbled him, saying: “Get behind me, Satan.” When Jesus was arrested, Peter was humbled as Jesus reprimanded him for attacking one of the arresting officers with his sword. Then, Jesus said Peter was going to deny him three times; and sure enough (and humbling enough), Peter did! Even after all of this, Jesus allowed Peter to humbly lead the early church.
The early 20th century Christian writer G. K. Chesterton wrote that “It is always the secure who are humble.” Maybe you’ve noticed that, too: the people who exude humility are very often those who are confident enough in their personal identity that they don’t feel a need to brag, show-off, or make much noise at all.
That’s the change Peter went through—as he came to identify himself with the crucified and risen Christ, Peter’s fearful pride shifted to become secure humility.
I see the humility Christ shaped in Peter, and in the other first servants of the Church, still at work in the lives of those who follow Jesus today. I know elders who pray for their pastors and their congregation. I know church workers and volunteers who genuinely care about the people they serve. I’ve met with leaders who think of real people, both inside and outside the Church, and how they might love, welcome, encourage, and sacrifice for you.
And that’s good, because that’s exactly what we need in every area of mission and ministry: humble men and women who lead with servant hearts.
Jesus blessed the humility that Peter came to know, just as Jesus is already blessing the humble work of nursery volunteers, and elders, and teachers, and small group leaders, and pastors, and ushers, and the guy at the sound board. It’s my prayer that we will be a Church that is known by our humility.
What if someone in my neighborhood were to say, “Oh, you work at that church? They are always so humble.” What would the mean for our witness and our service? What we have to look like, how would we have to act in the world to be known as a humble church?
“It is always the secure who are humble.” And, amazingly, Jesus gives us the gift of security in him that becomes humility of faith in our love for one another and service to the world.
Spring is a great time for new beginnings, and a great time for us as a Church to commit to the humble hearts that Christ gives us by his Spirit. As we continue to cast our cares and anxieties on Jesus, we become more and more secure in his promise that he cares for us, now and in eternity.