Between my junior and senior years in college, I was a high school summer intern at the church I grew up attending. One day I was in the office with our senior pastor and the church secretary (hey – that was her title back then!). She was holding a stack of papers that she accidentally dropped. I’ve never forgotten what happened next. While she bent down to pick them up, I stood there and watched. While our senior pastor bent down to pick them up, I stood there and watched. And then I heard it! As he went to help retrieve the documents, he began to sing, “Make me a servant, humble and meek, Lord let me lift up those who are weak. And may the prayer of my heart always be, ‘Make me a servant, make me a servant, make me a servant today.’” ( I have never forgotten the simple life lesson he taught me — you’re never too important to serve because serving is what you are called to do. And this applies to everyone, not just prideful high school interns.

In this week’s passage from 1 Corinthians we see that Paul gets it — he knows he is a servant — a servant of Christ and a servant of the mysteries of God (4:1). And we see that some of the Corinthians don’t get it — they are proud and boastful about who they are and what they have, forgetting that everything in their lives is a gift from Him (4:7). While Paul understands himself, some in the church have deceived themselves.

And so it is that understanding our role (we are servants) and understanding where our gifts and talents come from (God) allows us to stay away from self-deception (3:18) by growing in humility. But this can be difficult in our upside-down world where we are told it is better to receive than to give and where everyone acts as if their abilities are self-endowed.

So what are we to do? How can we avoid a failure to launch? How can we stay away from self-deception? How can we grow in humility? I have two suggestions. First, go back to Monday’s devotional from Pastor John Riley and review that list of 3-5 things that make you special. Then spend some time today thanking God for how He made you. Remember, you are awesomely and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Thank Him for all He has given you — your mind, your organizational skills, your people skills, your creativity, your ability to design and build things, how easy code is for you, etc. Whatever it is, give Him thanks for it.

And then second, remember you are a servant. I once heard it said that any person who thinks he or she is too important for the small tasks is not important enough for the big ones. Practice humility by doing the little things, the things you might believe are beneath you. Remember Jesus said He came to serve, not to be served, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

Here’s the bottom line — you’re not as important as you think you are, so start acting like it! As you do, your humility will continue to develop, your self-deception will continue to decrease and your usefulness to God will grow!

Scott Smith
Connection and Growth Pastor

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