We are blessed with two blogs today! What a treat!
1 Peter 5:5-6
5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Submission, Respect and humility
As I write today’s blog, it’s 4am in the morning and I’m in my room in the 31st floor of a downtown Tokyo hotel. Correspondingly, at the top of my mind is Japan and work. I can’t help but apply these verses from 1 Peter to what I’ve recently learned about the Japanese culture and what I’ve learned over the years about humility at work and in life.
5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders.
One of the strengths of Japanese culture is the tradition of respect for the elderly. Every year on the 3rd Monday in September, Japan has a national holiday called “Respect for the Aged” Day to celebrate and honor its elderly citizens, to recognize their contributions to society, and to celebrate their long lives. In Japanese multi-generational families the elderly hold places of honor and respect. While they don’t always live up to this ideal (just look at who’s sitting and who’s standing on a typical subway), most do profess to value and respect the elderly. This is a wonderful example of acting on Peter’s advice.
5b All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
The definition in Wikipedia says “Humility is variously seen as the act or posture of lowering oneself in relation to others …”. Being humble - - how difficult that is sometimes. Worldly thinking is that the way to succeed is to do great things and to get recognized for it. “See me!” “Be like me!” “I am the greatest!” are common attitudes among the celebrities and athletes that are so admired in our culture. However, this attitude is contrary to biblical teaching. Humility is the way. As examples, in whatever task you take you take on; do so without fanfare, without excessive pride or vanity. Simply do the best job you can. Take on tasks that no one else wants to do. Be open to new ideas … no matter how long you’ve “been around”, you probably don’t know everything. Listen to everyone as if they mattered. When you succeed, be sure to share that success with others. I believe that this humble approach to work will lead to a success both in life and in your career … and in a manner more consistent with biblical teaching.