Humility as a Qualification for Office

 Jesus told this parable to certain people who had convinced themselves that they were righteous and who looked on everyone else with disgust: 
“Two people went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself with these words, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like everyone else—crooks, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of everything I receive.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He wouldn’t even lift his eyes to look toward heaven. Rather, he struck his chest and said, ‘God, show mercy to me, a sinner.’ 
“I tell you, this person went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.”

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus and effective Leadership:

– Rebekah preaching

Here is a true story from a few years back. Rebekah, who has always been an exceptionally effective preacher, often caught flak because – well – she is an exceptionally effective preacher!

One of my favorite examples was the man who came into her office, indignant, saying, “I’m tired or hearing you preach against ______?” (some politician). “I was especially offended this past Sunday!

Rebekah thought about it and said, I don’t think I have ever talked about _____ in church. I tend not to preach against things so much as preach for following Jesus. Maybe I should ask why following Jesus – in terms of grace, humility, mercy, peace, love, justice, and reconciliation – sounds offensive to you and looks so threatening to your politician?”

First Shall be Last:

I thought about that this morning during our devotions after breakfast. Currently we are reading from the Rule of St. Benedict of Nursia (from the 5th Century).

One of the most important ideas Benedict promotes is humility. The above passage from Luke 18 offers a lot of insight from the teachings of Jesus. It is a recurring theme for The Master, who also talks about the first being last, the greatest being the least, and how people who aspire to be leaders must adopt the attitude of a servant.

I attended a church supper one Sunday evening where everyone was, first, seated for the opening devotion. Instead of leading a prayerful thought, the preacher simply told the crowd the covered dish was about to open. There was a mad rush – especially amongst the teens – to be at the head of the line, which eventually wound around the other three walls.

When the dust settled, the minister raised her hand for attention.

“Look closely and you can see the plates and silverware are not at their usual location. This evening we will be serving from the opposite end of the buffet. So if everyone would please simply turn around exactly 180-degrees. And this is our devotion, in the timeless words of Jesus. “So those who are last will be first. And those who are first will be last” (Matthew 20:16). And, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”

So You Want to Lead?

We live in a cultural moment where there seems to be an inordinate amount of “God, I thank you that I am not like everyone else…” and not a lot in the way of “God, show mercy to me, a sinner.”

Leaders – or wannabe leaders – who bluster, and bully, and incite, and threaten, and who lean dictatorial need to listen more to the teachings of Jesus and they must learn to humble themselves.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:25-28

No, I don’t want to enter a monastery and become subject to St. Benedict’s Rule! But I do want to follow Jesus more closely. And I long for the day that our political leaders will learn the grace, humility, mercy, peace, love, justice, and heart of reconciliation that Jesus teaches.

writer Derek Maul

Seriously, friends, if they are not willing to follow the teachings of The Master himself then they have no business sitting in any office on Capitol Hill, oval or otherwise.



  1. Yes, I agree! Politicians should be knowledgeable in their faith, practicing their faith as they govern. Too many politicals are in a “me, me” way of thinking, ignoring their belief system and thinking only of votes and making those on the “Hill” happy. I guess we need to.pray for them, that the Holy Spirit will guide them. Amen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think everyone should read this, and remember that we need to “take care of” and not always be “taken care of”. Good words, can we make a billboard?

    Liked by 1 person

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