Another definition of humility that I came up with for myself as I pursue this character trait is, “Humility is having healthy self-worth without needing to be better than someone else. Feeling good about my accomplishments without needing to compare myself to others to determine how good my accomplishments are”. I go over this definition whenever I am going to be in a situation where I am tempted to compare or compete in an unhealthy way. Whenever I am around Pastors I want to be able to encourage, teach, coach, and mentor from an attitude of humility. Any kind or amount of “I’m cool” attitude is picked up by others, and causes them to be resistant to any input from me into their lives, and God who knows my heart and motives will certainly withhold His blessings.
A test recently came into my life in this area. Mike Dedera my associate pastor at JBC recently took over doing most of the preaching. Mike has been on staff for about 10 years, and has filled in for me periodically preaching, and done a host of other pastoral responsibilities around JBC that freed me up to spend a lot of time studying and preparing my sermons each week. Last March and April I was gone on a two month bicycle trip across the USA from San Diego, California to St Augustine, Florida. While on that trip while I was working on sermons in the evening I was impressed by God to have Mike take over the preaching. My initial reaction to that thought that had popped into my head was,”yeh, right!” , but the more I thought about it the more I knew it was God.
He has been doing that now for about 4 or 5 months. This last Sunday a lady visited from near Eugene. She had come to church specifically to hear me preach because she had listened to me preach on the radio every morning while she drove to work for years and she wanted to meet me. I was chatting with her after the service as I walked around greeting people who were visitors. She didn’t know who I was, and assumed I was just an usher/greeter because I had given her a bulletin when she came in before the service. As I greeted her after the service, I said I hope you enjoyed your visit, and she responded by saying she had come to hear Pastor Dee, and she was very disappointed when the service started and Pastor Mike was preaching, but that by the time he was done she was glad because he was a much better preacher! I have to admit that her statement made me blink and take a step backwards. I quickly walked away before someone came along and called me by name and embarrassed the lady.
As I walked away I thought, “well, I think I am doing alright with that. I truly am rejoicing over the fact that JBC is getting good preaching post Dee Duke, and I can feel good about what I have done in the past without comparing myself to others. “Dear Lord, bless Mike and anoint his preaching so everyone who hears will be stirred into accerated spiritual growth”.