Have you ever seen a child instinctively help another child up when he falls? Do you recall a time when you immediately went to someone’s aid without having to stop and think about it simply because there was a need and you wanted to help? It seems like such a simple matter, but it appears that as we “mature” and find ourselves in different positions and roles in life, that willingness to stoop to help others lives in constant danger of being suppressed.
The attention of the world in recent days has been given to the new Pope Francis and especially his lifestyle of service, simplicity and humility through the years. Against the backdrop of world leaders often living in splendor while their countrymen suffer, such an attitude is, indeed, refreshing. Nobody is too good or too important to serve others.
While reading Nehemiah the last couple of days about the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall in the 5th century B.C., Nehemiah 3:5 jumped out at me. In the midst of a passage talking about the various groups that shared in the responsibility of rebuilding and repairing, we read: “And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.”
Who would not stoop? The nobles. The work was being done by a vast number of people eager to do the work, to be part of a cause greater than themselves. Yet here was a group of people who considered themselves greater than the work. They considered it beneath them, yet it was the most significant work of that century for that people.
The problem with considering yourself too good to stoop to help others is that those who hold such an attitude are completely inaccurate in their self-assessment. They aren’t really too good or lofty to serve or help others – they just think they are. They are mistaken.
I am thankful for the example of everyday men and women, boys and girls, who care more about helping others than about maintaining some off-base inflated self-assessment of their importance. I am grateful for leaders who understand and practice servant leadership. I am humbled by people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty and to live life in the trenches if that is where the need is found.
“But whoever must be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” – Jesus, Mark 10:43-45.