This guy??? AGAIN??? Let me explain…
I decided at the last moment on Palm Sunday, that I would write a Palm Sunday blog post. I had an idea germinating in my brain and it bloomed a lot more easily than almost anything else I’ve ever written. But then I thought, well it’s kind of weird to write about Palm Sunday and not Good Friday. So, after that post was completed, it seemed ridiculous to not do one on Easter Sunday as well. And then looking at the schedule, I realized that this Tuesday was also an introduction to April’s theme. Such much for a diverse group of voices, right? It’s been almost exclusively me for the past two weeks!
With that being said, welcome to April! The theme for this month is HUMILITY, and I’m here to say that I’ll be paying extra special attention to what is written these next four weeks.
I get a lot of attention. As a large black man mainly occupying white spaces, a lot of eyes are often trained on me, to notice, admire, or track. The point being, I can’t really slip in and out of any situation undetected. I am blessed by having a lot of people in my life that love me. I have a great family, wonderful friendships, and a beautiful church community. I don’t take this for granted. But what do I do with this consideration?
It may surprise people to know that I’m actually an introvert. I was painfully shy until I was about 16. I still have crippling stage fright. Yes, ME. The thing Tina says to me most often when we’re home together is “Could you please speak up?” I’m not joking. My extroversion is purely a learned behavior, built out of loneliness and frustration over my awkwardness. I combatted the isolation I felt through sheer force of will and determination.
Being an extrovert draws people into your sphere. If you’re kind, those people stick around. And that feels great. As a small child, I wouldn’t even answer people’s questions unless they were asked by my teachers or family members, so having people to talk to on a regular basis, people who would seek me out, people with whom I had a growing relationship was a real paradigm shift.
But then…ego took hold. And pride. And it became way more about how many people were near me than who those people actually were, or what their intentions were. And frankly, I didn’t care about intention. Or even quantity. The person who dies with the most friends win was my secret unvoiced philosophy. It took me until about 30 years of age to realize this about myself and start the journey back to Jesus’s desire for my life and my purpose in Him that I’d so neglected, even though I’d spent my whole adult life up to that point working in Christian organizations and churches. I believe my ego is the part of me that Jesus has been trying most desperately to get a hold of. If left unchecked, it is destructive, dominating, and uncaring. My ego also covers up my many insecurities, so pride is also a defense mechanism for me. It’s been a long journey, and I still have far to go.
I don’t think it’s any accident that this is what we’ll be talking about this month. I need to hear it. Maybe you do too. I need to know that I’m not alone in this constant search for a deeper understanding of that which Jesus modeled so well.
Jesus loved His solitude, but He found Himself (around 30 years of age) constantly surrounded by crowds of people who just wanted a piece of Him, to be near Him, to touch Him, to be noticed by Him. If those moments aren’t ripe for a primo ego boost, I don’t know what is! And the crazy part is, JESUS DESERVED THE ATTENTION! HE DESERVED THE PRAISE! He was God!
And yet, what did He do time and time again: He directed all the praise and adoration to His Father in Heaven. In the Gospels, Jesus references God as His Father 54 times. He is constantly taking the focus off of Himself, and placing it on God the Father. I believe He is taking these opportunities to show us what to do with the praise and attention directed our way. Even though Jesus is worthy of praise, we are not. So in His own wondrous way, He demonstrated to us how we ought to act.
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” We don’t humble ourselves because of the prize, or because it feels good. We humble ourselves because it is right. Because it is obedient. And because it’s God’s desire for our lives, whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or both like me.
I am so excited for you to hear from our church this month as they dig deeper into humility as it touches and washes over every aspect of our lives and interacts with and speaks to each of us differently.