“But in humility count others as more significant than yourself.”
This passage of the text is hard and it’s where people get the most upset. Because one thing we can all seem to comply with is “think more about other people.” There are humanitarian groups all over the world who have no idea about Jesus but still do great things to help others. They build wells, heal the sick, and feed the hungry. So we’re not talking about thinking about others, we’re talking about making others more significant, or more valuable, than you are.
The word significant here is important because it carries a great deal of weight. When something is significant it’s important. It have value. It is worth of attention. If you look at your calendar for example, there are blank spaces, and then there are appointments and reminders. These significant moments, among the white space of normal time – sleeping, eating, walking, talking, living are moments that deserve a little more attention than the rest.
What this text is saying is pretty profound really. We spend A LOT of time thinking about ME, numero uno, myself, and I. What Paul is telling the church is in the middle of all the opportunities to worry and think about me and what I want and what I get and how satisfied I am, there are these other opportunities to stop thinking about me, and think about someone else. Doesn’t make them more “important” like we sometime hear, but you think about you A LOT. Occasionally you get these opportunities in life to think about someone else, these blips on the calendar of your attention where you can think about someone else. Those are significant. They have meaning. They’re important, don’t miss them.
Humility, as one megachurch pastor says, isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. It’s not denying that I have needs, but it’s realizing that others do as well, and when the opportunity arises to consider someone else, I should seize that moment. Mark it on my calendar because it’s significant and shouldn’t be neglected. In the waves of self indulgent thought that we each have every day, do not look past the opportunities to think about someone else.
Typically this is when you get the “tomorrow find one way to be selfless”, but that’s lame. It’s especially lame considering the way the scriptures talking about selflessness. Selflessness is my way of being more like Jesus. In my selflessness I grow closer to him. I know him better when I do for others. If that is true, shouldn’t I be longing for the moments when I can put someone else first and know of Jesus? Shouldn’t I be so in love with Him, that those opportunities for selflessness and humility stop seeming like chores and start looking like opportunities? An opportunity to draw closer to Him.
Count others as more significant than yourself, because in our moments of sacrifice we see more and more of Jesus.