When I was preparing to graduate from seminary, I began working on my resumé. As a graduate, I was proud of my education, my honors and achievements, and of the experiences I had accumulated. I was ready to meet the lost world and for the lost world to meet me! I had every intention of landing the perfect church situation after the first interview and beginning my life as a pastor.

I only faced one small obstacle: I wanted a letter of reference from one of the hardest professors in my department. This particular professor was happy to be a reference if the student wrote his own letter describing his or her strengths, weaknesses, areas of growth, and personal assessment of future potential. He would read the letter, make any suggestions for change and then sign the finished product. It was a daunting task and one that made me nauseous.

I don’t remember what I wrote in my letter, but I do remember his comment. “You have a good grasp of Romans 12:3.” At the time I had little understanding of what Romans 12:3 was all about, but I quickly looked it up in my Bible, underlined it and put it in my heart as a verse to live by. “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” — Romans 12:3

Culture today could use a fresh dose of this truth. It only takes a moment to see why. Many athletes pound their chests, talk smack, and dance around the end zones in personal celebration. Celebrities seek fame and attention at any cost. Marketers and advertisers shout the mantra “It’s all about you!” If you think the church has escaped this poison, think again. Success-oriented ministries abound, and many leaders have fallen hard thinking they were above the temptations that eventually seized them.

Philippians 2:3-4 reads, Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (The Message)


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