The Simple Cure for Pride: See Yourself as a Servant

Feb 25, 2010Kingdom Uncaged

 picture credit, mine. Mount Hermon 2009
I remember emailing author Randy Alcorn after my first Mount Hermon (a Christian writers conference in California). I asked him about how he handled fame. Prior to the conference, something deeply supernatural happened to me. A flurry of memories came back to me, painful parts throughout my life. I said to the Lord, “I’ve endured a lot of trials.” 
He responded, “Yes, you have. But will you withstand the hardest one? Will you withstand the trial of notoriety?”
Those words echoed through me that first Mount Hermon. It’s the conference that turned my trajectory from wannabe writer to soon-to-be-published writer. So when I came away from the conference with an agent, I wrote Randy. His assistant was kind to send me back some of the things he wrote about notoriety. This one stuck with me:

“Focus on being a servant. Ask yourself, ‘How can I serve in any situation, whether it be . . . with a taxi driver, flight attendant, waitress, etc. Think of what you can do for that person. It’s not about you; it’s about the Lord. This gets your mind off yourself and onto another person. The greatest danger of notoriety is you start thinking about you. People then exist to serve you. This is exactly the opposite of the servant mentality. Jesus came to serve, not to be served.”

Any sort of “fame” any of us receives is for the sole purpose of building others up, of serving those God places in our lives. And beyond that, if we think of ourselves as simply servants who serve a Master, we won’t mire ourselves in pride. Consider these verses:

“Does the servant get special thanks for doing what is expected of him? It’s the same with you. When you’ve done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, ‘The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.” Luke 17:10 MSG. 

It’s that simple. When people thank me for writing a book or an article or a blog, I tell myself to simply say thanks. And then in my mind, I realize I’m just stewarding the gift God’s given me. I’m doing what He’s told me to do. No fanfare. No parades. Just simple obedience.

All this to say, I still struggle with notoriety. I push down pride. I fret too much about my career. And there are times I like the seats of prominence (I say this to my shame). But I’m learning, just like you are, that there’s more to life than being recognized. And if, by chance, I’m recognized, Jesus makes it clear that any position just gives a broader base to serve.