Archives For humility

Father of Jesus,

Dawn is here again, but without your light within me

no outward light can benefit me;

Give me the saving lamp of your Spirit that I may see you,

the God of my salvation, the delight of my soul,

rejoicing over me in love.

I give my heart to your watchful care, for I know its treachery and power;

Guard its every opening from the wily enemy,

Give me quick awareness of his deadly arts,

Help me to recognize his bold disguise as an angel of light,

and command him to depart.

May my words and works allure others to the highest walks of faith and love!

May sluggish saints be inspired to greater diligence by my example!

May those of this world be won to delight in knowing you!

May the timid and wavering be warned of coming doom by my zeal for Jesus!

Cause me to be a mirror of your grace,

to show others the joy of being your servant,

May my lips be well-tuned instruments

sounding your praise,

Let a halo of heavenly-mindedness

sparkle around me

And a lamp of kindness be a sunbeam on my path.

Teach me the happy art of

attending to temporary things

with a mind intent on what is eternal.

Send me forth to have compassion

on the ignorant and miserable.

Help me to walk as Jesus walked,

my only Savior and perfect model,

his mind my inward guest

his meekness my clothing

Let my place of happiness be amongst the poor in spirit,

my delight the gentle ranks of the meek.

Let me always put others before myself,

and find in true humility

my inheritance of both earthly and heavenly worlds.

Source: The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Banner of Truth Trust, p. 248-249.


Need Clarity?

April 18, 2013 — 5 Comments

How clear is your team on its purpose? Can everyone clearly name the audience(s) you seek to serve? What are the most important results that you must deliver? How clear are you, as a team?

You might be surprised.

It’s one thing to have everyone repeat a vision statement. It’s another when an outsider drops in and asks some clarity questions: What exactly is your team trying to accomplish? For whom? How will you know if you’re successful?

This week the digital strategies team I lead had two different experts drop in for one-hour chat sessions; Mike on Tuesday, Steve on Wednesday. Both are friends of the ministry and leaders of their own companies. Without prompting from me, both of them asked the clarity questions. Both days generated some great discussion. Our team is less than a year old. We do have two primary audiences that we seek to serve, which creates some tension and confusion when allocating scarce time and resources. We’re also in startup phase in the digital environment, so our work involves many new projects, rapid failure/learning cycles, and a lot of iteration. Our larger organization is over 60 years old, continues to maintain a lot of aging initiatives and projects, and has a much longer iteration/change cycle. So, as Steve put it, we’re like a startup company with a tiny office on one deck of the Queen Elizabeth II.

As team leader, I felt tempted to brush off Mike’s and Steve’s penetrating questions with some trite, canned responses. But that wouldn’t help us fulfill our purpose. I needed to share leadership for the session with outsiders and allow them to exert influence (= leadership) on us. Lesson for me: Don’t fear being humbled and helped by friends who come with fresh perspective on our team processes and products. More clarity helps everyone be more fruitful.

How clear is your team on its purpose, audience(s) and outcomes? Are you sure about that?

A Fresh Dose of Humility

September 23, 2010 — 10 Comments

Ann and I recently celebrated two major milestones – 25 years of marriage and a newly emptied nest – by taking a week on the Greek island of Kos. It was so awesome that I think we’re going to start taking silver anniversary trips every year. You can view a few pix here.

It costs time and money to celebrate well. Each day we did something special that reminded us of fun activities we’ve pursued at different times in our lifelong friendship. We rented mountain bikes, sailed a catamaran in the Aegean Sea, strolled on the beach, hiked in the hills and ate lots of great Greek food. Near the end of our week we took in the island’s breathtaking views by moped.

A nearly perfect day concluded with a small blip. While climbing up a fairly steep hill, the switchback was too slick and I laid the bike down on our turn. Bam! I vaguely remember apologizing to Ann on the way down: “I’m sorryyyy…” Though we weren’t moving fast we landed hard. Picture 450 pounds of bodies and bike simply falling over in your driveway – you get the idea. Ann bunged up her knee. I absorbed most of the impact with my right shoulder and a split second later felt two dull ‘pops’ in my chest. Thankfully I walked away with only bruised – and extremely tender – ribs. The doctor said they would be sore for 2-3 months.

“I Need Help”

Those three words are some of the most difficult for independent, healthy, self-sufficient people to say. Yet, they have come out of my mouth more in the past week than probably in the past six months. Bruised ribs hurt. They hurt when I stand, walk, turn, lie down, sit up, sleep, eat. Shoot, they hurt when I breathe.

So, it’s easy for you to picture us traveling through five airports on the way home. I have to ask for help. Ann has her knee bandaged up and limps through the airport, hoisting our luggage onto the check-in scales. I, the ever chivalrous husband, deftly handle the tickets and passports. When we board, Ann takes off my backpack and puts it in the overhead bin because I can’t lift my arm that high. I am hyper-aware of people looking at us, probably thinking: What a jerk. Dude, help your wife. All I want is a t-shirt that reads “I have severe internal injuries – you just can’t see them.”

Of course this doesn’t end with our trip. Yesterday I went to Lowe’s to buy two 40-pound bags of salt for our water system. Dani, a very friendly young cashier, takes my credit card. I find myself saying those three words again to her: “I need help. Can you call someone over to help me get these bags into my car?”

“Don’t worry,” says Dani. “Just back your car up and I’ll get them for you.”


Lesson: True humility flows from a sense that I need others. People can’t read my mind and often can’t see where I hurt. I need to verbalize my need and ask for help.