“The Prologue to Every Success Story”
The American Puritan preacher Cotton Mather invited a young Benjamin Franklin over for dinner one night and showed him his library. As they walked through a narrow passage into the library, Mather yelled back at Franklin, “Stoop! Stoop!”
Franklin didn’t understand the exhortation until it was too late, bumping his head on a low beam.
Mather turned the situation into a sermon. “Let this be a caution to you not always to hold your head so high. Stoop, young man, stoop—as you go through this world—and you’ll miss many hard thumps.”
Many years later, Franklin told Mather’s son that he never forgot that moment. “This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me,” said Franklin. “And I often think of it when I see pride mortified and misfortunes brought upon people by carrying their heads too high.”
One of the defining moments of my life was getting cut down to size by a summer intern. I made a prideful statement about our church, National Community Church, and he called me on it. At first I was defensive. But now I’m so grateful he had the courage to call me out.
I certainly don’t want to give the impression that I’ve conquered pride. Like each of the seven deadly sins, pride has nine lives. You have to fight the battle every single day, but there are decisive victories. And that was one of them for me.
There is a sequence in Scripture that is sacrosanct. Pride goes before destruction. Likewise, humility comes before honor. In the spiritual order of things, it’s inviolable.
Pride is the first chapter in the book of failure.
Humility is the first chapter in the book of success.
God won’t put you in a position of leadership until you take a posture of servanthood. So as you’re pursuing your God-sized, God-given dream, remember the attitude you need to keep from beginning to end. Stoop!
And meanwhile here’s a tip. There are two ways to get humility. You can humble yourself or let God humble you. Choose the former so you don’t have to experience the latter.
How can you make yourself less conspicuous so that others can see God in you more clearly?