“What is the one attribute that is impossible to fake?” The question hung in the air like a fog as the speaker leaned back and smiled. He was an older gentleman with silver hair, and he had an air of confidence about him that comes from seeing and experiencing a lot of life. He had been a missionary deep in the jungles of Africa, and he was one of those guys that could tell crazy stories for days and days. It was my second year of Bible College, and his 10 minute Bible study was something that changed my life forever.
I knew the answer to his question almost immediately, because young people always know when someone is pandering and can smell insincerity from miles away. Young people are experts at knowing who is fake. I almost blurted out “Humility!”, but I could tell he wanted us to wrestle with the question for a moment. Once he started his lesson, it was clear that this wise, godly man was simply sharing his heart, sharing his wisdom after a lifetime of ministry. All I had with me was a few 3x5 cards from studying for a test, so I started furiously scribbling down his main points. Here is what I wrote:
- Biblical knowledge is not the most important thing
- If Bible College doesn’t change me as a person, something is wrong
- It can’t be just head knowledge
- Humility is the most important quality you can have – Matt 11:28-30
- Lack of humility in leadership destroys churches and lives
- We must be dependent on God
- Lots of people want to serve God as advisors
- It is God’s work, not mine
- God has a different timetable than I do – Don’t be impatient
- Too much of God’s work is done in human ability – Do things God’s way
I think the best one is number 5, but I’m sad to say that I’ve watched it come true too many times. There is something wrong with the way our minds work because when we start to learn awesome, valuable things from the Bible, the first thing that happens is we get puffed up with pride. It’s so tragic because pride renders all that fancy Bible knowledge essentially useless.
I still carry that 3x5 card in my Bible and refer back to it often. It reminds me that the best way I can minister to others is to be dependent on God and allow him to work through me. I struggle and fight every day in my quest to accomplish great things for God, but he doesn’t need me to do that. He simply asks me to follow him and stop trying so hard. His yoke is easy, his burden is light.