Philippians 2: 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
Mike Trout, center fielder for Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels, is a six time All-Star and two-time MVP of the American League. As one of the greatest players in baseball, he has every reason to walk around the clubhouse with a swagger. But that is not Trout’s reputation. You won’t find his name in the tabloids or find him on the celebrity TV news shows. Trout just leads a quiet, humble life.
Mike Morin, an Angels relief-pitching prospect, saw the difference in Trout not long after he met him. Apparently, Trout invited him to golf after a game, but Morin had to drive to get his clubs. Trout offered to go pickup whatever lunch Morin wanted while he got his clubs. “’I’m trying to make the team,’ Morin said, ‘And he’s taking my order and picking up my food so we can play together. He has no air of being a star. He’s just the most normal person you could ever meet.’”[i] As Trout says himself:” my parents always taught me to be humble”.
As an athlete you too may be blessed, like Mike Trout, with success in sports. That may come with a great deal of adoration from fans, coaches and even teammates; and having that sort of praise heaped upon you can lead to an unholy opinion of yourself. It is critical that the humility of Jesus is evident in your life – the same Jesus who washed the disciples’ feet (John 13: 1-17). The apostle Paul said: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12:3).
Oswald Chambers said that: “We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us.”[ii]
When mentoring young men, I continually encourage them to be heroes. But being a hero looks nothing like what is portrayed in action movies, video games or TV shows. Being a hero can be as simple as showing up. It can be as simple as choosing to be faithful to your wife and your children, choosing to consider others before yourself (Philippians 2:3), and choosing to walk a life where you aren’t self promoting yourself, but instead walking a simple, humble life under the radar. “And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
If God chooses to promote you, and to put you in a place of honor, ensure that you are in a place of spiritual maturity to recognize that all you have is from God, and that you are of no greater value than any other person around you. Arriving at this place of humility begins today, before you are elevated. Ask God to deeply imbed the seed of humility in your life today so that you can be a fragrant witness of Jesus Christ – who he was on earth, and who he is today.