Last year I volunteered in a campaign for someone running for office at the state level. As I worked with the other, more experienced volunteers, I was impressed by their humility in talking to voters – really wanting to hear what people felt. And although the candidate didn’t win the primary election, she was gracious in defeat.
To me, she was exhibiting strength in the face of disappointment after such hard work. But it also showed me how to cherish humility in terms of my own attitude toward the candidates who ultimately ran for office. Moving forward, I found myself listening less for speeches that emphasized personal will or personality and paying more attention to promises of a willingness to work with others and to learn how to do a good job – for us, the people.
As candidates begin to jockey for a place in the next presidential election in the United States, I’ve been thinking about the qualities that I would hope for in the individuals representing my community in local and national government. For me, humility is a key one.
Sometimes humility is thought of as being wimpy – just doing the least or letting others decide for you. But the Bible, a book I’ve studied for many years, presents a more spiritual view of true humility as actually strengthening us and as a quality that’s not the monopoly of any particular person or group, but open to all.
Consider Moses, who was just shepherding flocks one day when God commanded him to take on the formidable job of freeing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and leading them to the Promised Land (see Exodus 3:1-12). Like any normal person, Moses asked, in effect, “Why me? The Egyptian Pharaoh is very important, and I am a nobody by comparison.”
Then God gave him the insight that opened the way for all the good that followed: “Certainly I will be with thee.”
Through my study of Christian Science, I’ve come to see that Moses’ journey wasn’t successful because of any personal power or prowess. It was Moses’ willingness to listen for and act on inspired thoughts from God that made the difference.
Moses was often tested as he struggled with the challenges that came his way from Pharaoh, from the Israelites – who could be ornery at times – and from the wilderness conditions they faced. But one thing that impresses me is that Moses didn’t say he was the one who would solve all the problems. No matter how exasperated he was, Moses turned to God for guidance, and there was consistently a solution.
That is something we can do also. Christian Science explains that we are always at one with God as His spiritual reflection or idea. Christ Jesus made this point very clear when he said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30).
That spirit of humility – not my power, but God’s power – is true humility, and it is transforming, while its opposite hinders us, as Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, pointed out. Her “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896” notes: “Human pride is human weakness. Self-knowledge, humility, and love are divine strength” (p. 358).
In my own life, I’ve seen this to be so and time after time have found that turning to God for guidance, even in small things (and certainly nothing so great as parting the Red Sea, as Moses did!), has led to solutions that bless.
Whether we’re gearing up to run for office or simply going about our daily tasks, each of us can strive to accept God’s loving care, to let Him govern our lives, and to recognize in our own way what Moses and Jesus showed: that God does guide and protect all of us and leads us only to good. Striving to let God empower everything we say and do is a living vote for greater humility in our world.