“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” — Micah 6:8
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” — Philippians 2:3-4
To walk humbly with our God is a daunting prospect when we recognize that there was no one born of woman who was more humble than Jesus. He was God, but was willing to take our human form. As St. Paul says, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). He came to serve (Matt. 20:28). He entered Jerusalem riding on an ass (Zechariah 9:9). He washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:5). The Son of God did not choose to be born into luxury or even in the capital city of Jerusalem. He chose Bethlehem. As the prophet Micah says of the city of David, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel…” (5:2). Rich Mullins, in his final album entitled “The Jesus Record”, says of Jesus that “the hope of the world rests on the shoulders of a homeless man”, and that “He was a man of no reputation.” How can I walk humbly with the One who is humility incarnate?
The key to this humble walk is living in the moment. Too often, we guard our hearts and our reputations. When we think that we have been slighted, overlooked, or otherwise humiliated, we tend to contemplate comebacks to the slights, or plan ways to rescue our hurt emotions. That is living for the future, while trying to redeem the past. That is not living in the moment. Or we make plans for ways and means to get noticed, for our talents to be put on display. Again, looking to the future, not living in the moment. St. Paul, in the passage quoted above says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Living in the moment means that we need not be afraid of our past failings and sins, for they have been redeemed in Christ. We need not fear the future, for if we are following in the footsteps of Jesus we will not falter. That is what Micah declared when he prophesied that we are to “walk humbly with our God.”
The walls of the New Jerusalem cannot be built on pride. For “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6 cf. Prov. 3:34). A proud brick will crumble under its own weight. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). We each have a place—a ministry—within the Church, within the Body of Christ, that we are called to fulfill. It may not be as glamorous as someone else’s. It may even be a behind-the-scenes ministry which accrues no notice. But, in the overall scheme of the Body, there are no unimportant parts. What you bring to the Church—the walls of this Temple—is absolutely essential to the whole. As St. Paul exhorts, “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.For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” (Romans 12:3-6). We need each other. We need to work together in humility, to stand firm on the foundation of Jesus and the apostles and prophets. Then, alone, will the walls be plumb and the New Jerusalem secure.