Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Modern Major General

"I am the very model of a modern major general,
I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England and I quote the facts historical
From Marathon to Waterloo in order categorical..."

An interesting song, this. Here, we have a man proudly proclaiming his personage a paragon amongst peers. He proceeds to recount numberless feats and abilities, while boasting his vast stores of knowledge. He puts himself on a dais for other major generals and lesser-ranked men to admire.

It's kind of like what we shouldn't be doing as Christian leaders. Paul, the man often held as preeminent pastor (tough he may cringe at the title) wrote to the church at Corinth: 
"God has Chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world - what is viewed as noting - to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence. But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us - our righteousness, sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written: 'The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.'" 1 Cor 1:28-31 (HCSB)
Solomon wrote:
"He mocks those who mock. but gives grace to the humble." Prov 3:34 (HCSB)
Paul, also in his first letter to the Corinthians, gave example of the apostles humility in an excerpt slightly too long to transcribe.

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to get the idea that humility, not pride, is the proper mindset for a Christian leader. After all, did Christ not wash the grimy feet of His disciples on the evening of the last supper?

So why, then, is pride something to be avoided?

  • Pride turns the focus from God to self.
  • Pride corrupts and takes preeminence over other motives. (e.g, bettering the living situation of a poor family becomes a show for acclaim.)
  • Pride places others on a subordinate level.
I could continue, but it's late and I think these three highlight my point nicely as counterpoints to Christ and the apostles who:
  • Pointed the crowds to God,
  • Set aside their desire for praise and acknowledgement for the goal of furthering the Gospel and the salvation of mankind.
  • Placed others as equals with, if not higher than, themselves.
So, looking at leadership, we should not be modeling ourselves after this modern major general, but rather:
"Make your attitude that of Christ Jesus,
Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with god as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His eternal form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death - even to death on a cross..."
Phil 2:5-8 (HCSB)