A devotional thought from Juan Sanchez for “Jesus: The Faithful Servant”
It was a summer day in 1983. I was 17 years old. I boarded a plane in Florida and later that evening landed in San Diego, California. I made my way out of the airport and boarded a U.S. Navy bus loaded with other Navy recruits. Little did we know that we were entering a different world once we stepped off that bus at the Navy Recruit Training Center. Whatever privileges, whatever status we had before we stepped on that bus, they were now gone. We were stripped of personal belongings, clothing, even our identity. They cut off all our hair and issued us new uniforms. We spent much of the night stenciling our names on all our clothing and getting processed. When we were done, we all looked the same, regardless of where we had come from. In many ways it was quite humiliating, and it remained so for weeks to come as the company commanders sought to break us down and rid us of our individual identities.
There is something in each of us that longs for glory, fame, and honor. But there is a universal principle of leadership that reminds us that humiliation comes before exaltation. In reality, this is no mere leadership principle; it is a biblical truth that Jesus taught His disciples: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt. 23:12).
Our story did not end in humiliation. We would graduate from boot camp as a company of sailors who would stand together in order to sacrifice our lives willingly for our country. Reflect on the words of Jesus above and particularly how His life embodied this truth of humility before exaltation.
Pause and Reflect
• When and how have you been humbled?
• Why do you think you needed to be humbled?
• What did you learn in your humiliation?