• Edwin Lin

PHF Week 3: Humility

The way of Money is self-centered but the way of humility is thinking of others. Maybe that is an oversimplification of the issue, but it seems like a central theme in the Bible when it comes to talking about humility. Unlike patience, I didn't find any verses that explicitly talked about Money and humility. Well, I guess the closest passages would be those that talk about how instead of lifting ourselves up, we should let God lift the humble person up. This definitely relates to the passage I do want to focus on, Philippians 2:

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;  
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death--even death on a cross! 
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,  
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This is where I feel it is so clear that Money is about yourself. Everything that I listed that is associated with money has something to do with oneself. Whether it is about providing for yourself or earning comforts of life or greed or wanting to be self-sufficient or the pride you get that's associated with your work; it doesn't matter what it is, if it's tied to Money you can be sure that it inevitably has something to do with YOU. Even the process of making money to give away, if it's done in service of the god of Money, then it's purpose has something to do with making you feel good about yourself, making a difference, or impacting the world in a positive way (so that you can take pride in it). Again, the end goal is YOU!

But God provides an alternative way of life. This alternative is where you stop thinking about yourself and instead, you humble yourself. You see yourself as less than those around you and you value those around you more than yourself. If you value others more than yourself, the natural result is that your mind will be focused on them rather than on yourself.

God calls us to change our mindsets in that way and He promises that He will exalt us in the end, just as He did with His Son, Jesus. This clearly connects back to the issue of patience, because it seems implied that this exaltation that will happen in the future is happening in the afterlife, or in the realm of eternity. We humble ourselves now, and God exalts us later--our hope and our patience is in the invisible realm, not in the one that we live in now.

More and more, faith seems to keep coming up in tangible and integrated ways, but that's for tomorrow (or the next day) for me the write about. For now, the key take away is that again, God wants to shift our focus. With patience, it was a shift to our hope that is placed in the eternal future--the second coming of Jesus or the time of redemption for our bodies. With humility, it is no longer explicitly about our relationship with God or looking above. Instead, it is about looking to those around us, or our horizontal relationships. We do not live for Money, but instead, we live for the people around us, because all those the recognition and prideful desires of our flesh that come from pursuing Money will be fulfilled by God Himself. Instead, we can live sacrificial lives for those around us.

Truly it is impossible to both live in humbleness and live for Money. We cannot serve both gods. We have to choose either shifting our mindset to those around us or focusing on ourselves.

In my job search now, it is definitely tempting to just spend the entire week just focused on myself and the things that I want to get out of my job. Even when I discuss getting a job for myself, I tend to talk about it as what is best for ME. But what if even the process of getting a job is about OTHER people? I mean, if you think about it, it makes sense because my hope is not in the job itself and what it can give me, but rather my hope is in things eternal that my job probably can do little about. So in the end, my job is really just a means for me to serve others, either through loving them and sharing God's love with them or using the money/compensation to support God's work (in our family, in the church, and in our personal ministries and outreaches).

What criteria, then, do we think about when we look for a job? I don't think it necessarily changes that much, but I definitely think a place where I can see myself doing ministry of some kind is UP there. It would help, of course, to enjoy the work you do, but ultimately, it's not about ME getting satisfaction from my work (in fact, as I write that, I know that is true!), but instead, it is about me finding a realm of my life to serve others.