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“Stay Humble. Stay Hungry. Stay Honorable.” Recently, as I was driving home after one of the pre-retreat prayers gatherings, I felt like God dropped this phrase in my heart. It wasn’t anything dramatic, but it was something that pierced my heart and hit me in a profound way. In fact, this phrase is something I would love to continue to live by as long as I live. The more I think about this phrase, it describes a person who is passionately and purposefully pursuing their God-given destiny. This has been my prayer in the last few days.
Stay Humble. It is easy to be humble when you first start off in the ministry. Everything is new. There are fears due to various uncertainties; and you are just learning how to do ministry. This makes you more dependent on God, but after doing ministry for awhile, it is easy to get proud; especially, when things are going well. We forget that it was God who enabled us to do what we do. It is easy to forget where we came from and we start to think that we have certain rights or privileges. This was the warning that God gave to the Israelites before they entered into the Promise Land. God said, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day… then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Dt 8:10-11, 14, 17-18). As a person becomes more “successful” in the eyes of the world, it is more the reason to stay humble and never to forget the One who gave the blessings.
Stay Hungry. The big challenge for many people is to stay hungry for God as we get older. There are so many things that vie for our attention and devotion. It only gets harder as we get older. There are various responsibilities and different challenges that come our way. It is too easy and “convenient” to dismiss a lot of convictions that we had when we were younger. We use the rationale of – “Oh, that was when I was younger and naïve!” “I was more idealistic back then, but now I am more grounded and look at life in a different way.” “That was just a unique time in my life, but now I am in a different stage of life.” We fall into the mindset that says, “that was then, this is now.” But God was convicting me that my standard for spiritual hunger needs to be at the level that I had when I was younger. Things were so pure back then. A lot of the reasons why I did what I did were simply because I loved Him and I wanted to love people. This is the heart that I need EVERY day, EVERY moment of my life. When Jesus was asked which of the commandments were the greatest, He said, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Lk 10:27). I want to stay hungry.
Stay Honorable. Honor is a virtue that has been lost in our generation. But there is something about honor that inspires people. It produces trust and it gives credibility to your words and to who you are. The American Heritage Dictionary defines, “honor” as, “principled uprightness of character; personal integrity.” The longer we are in ministry, the easier it is to start thinking that certain rules don’t apply to us. We start to believe that we are better than other people or we have the mentality that says, “We have arrived and we deserve things.” Personal integrity and principled uprightness of character take a long time to develop, but you can lose it in a single moment. This is the scary part of trying to live a life of honor. A whole lifetime of investment can be lost instantly. Therefore, guarding my honor and protecting myself from destroyers of my personal integrity is a must. This is where accountability comes in and a high dosage of reality checks is very helpful. There is a huge leadership gap in our generation and the world is longing for some good examples. But one thing we cannot forget is that integrity is more than just the external behaviors. It is the heart that God constantly looks at. This is what God told the prophet Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sa 16:7).
Stay humble. Stay hungry. Stay honorable.