For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Luke 14:11)
Relate: As a freshman in college I was part of a group of guys who would get together for some epic games of Risk. They would start as soon as we could all gather together on Friday night and sometimes they would be done in time for lunch on Saturday. These games got intense and at least on one occasion a couple guys had to do some friendship mending afterwards.
What made these games so intense (and long) was the shifting alliances. Usually one or two guys would be knocked out of the game early and the three or four left would all scramble to stay in second place. Nobody wanted to be the top dog because as soon as it was clear you were winning, the rest would all team up against you. The trick to winning these games was to become strong without looking like you were becoming strong.
React: What went on in those games is a reflection of life. We have a pedestal problem. As soon as someone gets too high above others, everyone starts taking shots at them. It is a natural human (or at least American) trait. Nobody hated Barak Obama until he became President. If Bill Gates wasn’t a billionaire most people would probably think he’s a pretty nice guy. Lebron James wouldn’t be the epitome of evil if to so many people if he wasn’t so ridiculously talented. As soon as someone becomes too rich, or powerful, or popular, or talented… the critics come out of the woodwork. Just think of how difficult it is for the President to lead when half the country is waiting for any misplaced word with which to grill him. If he says “the” when he meant “a” he will have to be spending a week doing damage control when he should be continuing to lead.
The trick to effective leadership is to lead through influence rather than through position. Be strong, be effective without having to let everybody know how strong and effective you really are. If people are going to start resisting leadership the moment the recognize it, do your best to avoid it being seen. The adage is true. The results are far more important than the credit. As long as we are on this earth whoever is exalted will be humbled. I would much rather stay humble here and wait until heaven to get the credit. Because then I can properly and easily give it back to the One to whom it truly belongs.
God, let me never try to seek my own glory or credit. Well, actually it’s too late to ask that, I do it all the time. Forgive me, and help me to do it less and less as I grow in You. Give me a better understanding of who You are so that I can remember more and more often to whom the glory, to where the credit really belongs. Keep me humble so that You might be exalted.