Lessons in Humility - Part 1

Meet the Mileys.

Though George and Hanna will not be traveling with us to Trento this year, they have opened many of the doors which make this gathering possible.  George and Hanna have been active in Christian ministry for decades.  They met and married while serving as missionaries in India with Operation Mobilization.  George went on to lead that organization's ship ministry.  When they returned to the States, George founded the Antioch Network.  We re-connected with the Antioch Network in 2008 at a gathering in Herrnhut, Germany - a meeting which changed the course of our lives. Since that time we have been blessed to know the Mileys as friends, mentors and co-laborers.  But they are more than that. Because of the depth of wisdom and teaching they have poured into our lives, because of their great (inexplicable) love for us, we consider them spiritual parents.

In the spring of 2011,Thomas and I visited the Mileys at their home in Germany.  One morning as we were sitting at table sipping tea, I asked this question.

"George, what is humility?  Talk to me about humility."

"Amy," George replied. "Humility is really very simple.  Humility is living in agreement with truth.  The truth is that we are glorious beings, loved by God and created in His image.  The truth is that we are also fallen beings, prone to sin, damaged by pain."

That was a moment of revelation for me.  Humility is simple!  It is not a matter of trying to act in a certain way, or trying to calculate other people's reactions, or trying to avoid recognition.  Such behavior is, in fact, contrary to the simplicity of humility.

The truth is that God has gifted each member of the Body for the edification and service of others.  To deny one's gifting, or to hide it,  is contrary to humility because it impedes the flow of blessing to others.  To demand recognition for one's gift or to exercise it at the expense of others is also contrary to humility.  And of course, resisting correction, direction or help from others is inconsistent with humility.

Humility is a quality I had always desired and prayed for, but until that day, I had a rather fuzzy understanding of what it actually was.  The question was on my because in a few days we would travel with the Mileys to Berlin for a meeting of the Antioch Network Council, then on to Austria for a prayer gathering at Fr. Peter Hocken's house.  I was very aware that most of the people in these meetings would be older than I, more experienced in ministry, more conversant in European church history, more mature by most any standard I could think of.   Frankly, I was intimidated.

But as George spoke, I had a moment of clarity.  Insecurity and humility have nothing in common.  Insecurity (and pride) come from comparing one's self to others.  Humility comes from from making Christ our standard.  Feelings of inadequacy and fear are inward looking.  Humility is always looking outward, to serve, to receive, to learn.

I am better able to listen and receive from others when I rest assured that God has given me gifts to share with them. And this is the paradox of humility - the more confident we are in God's great love and favor towards us, the more we can walk in humility.

Note - George went on to expand our short conversation into a full teaching which is available on the Mileys' website.