“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
// Philippians 2:3-4
A few months ago in a sweltering, crowded room on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Pastor Josh spoke at a C3 Brooklyn team meeting. After finishing and passing the stage to another leader, Pastor Josh slipped to the back of the room and began filling cups at the water cooler. At first no one noticed, but as he began to pass them out one by one to thirsty team members, expressions of surprise and gratitude swept across the room. This is the pastor of C3 Brooklyn. The visionary who just poured out spiritual encouragement from stage was now pouring out physical water for physical thirst. What a testament to the humility of Christ at work! It didn’t take long for the entire room to mobilize; like a water brigade, chains of helping hands began passing cups until at last everyone experienced the relief a simple glass of water can bring.
Paul’s words came to life in a tangible way that night. It was a revelation parallel to what the disciples experienced when Jesus knelt to wash their feet, taking on the role of a servant and demonstrating that humility is understanding our true position before God. Christ is the Word made flesh and yet He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself” [Philippians 2:6-7]. His humility is that He knew His worth, His godhead, and yet “count[ed] others more significant.” On the battlefield, an army ought to throw themselves in harm’s way to save their commander. And yet it is the opposite in the Kingdom: full of grace, Christ threw Himself into the arms of death for us, and (spoiler alert) those arms couldn’t keep Him down.
Acting out of a perceived lack of worth will breed comparison, factionalism and favoritism — the very strife and divisions that Paul warns against! Humility does not mean squeezing under the soles of people’s shoes, stepped on and battered because we’re so lowly; no, humility valiantly lifts others up! When we know our true worth and the miracle of salvation within us, we can boldly draw on His strength to enable, encourage, and empower those around us.
Serving a glass of water may seem a small act, but in that moment, it was a glimpse into the eternal. We all have access to the living water that Christ calls us to pour out to the world, banding together as communities, as water brigades that bring life to those who thirst. However menial or grandiose, putting others first builds the Kingdom. Christ clothed Himself in humility that He might attire His Bride in splendor. What a privilege we have in partaking in the beauty of this Bride and creating a community that pours out His heart to the world.
// Amy Claborn