4. Humble

  1. Being a Christian in work is being humble. Emulating Jesus in our work means being humble because Jesus humbled himself for us.198 Like his Father,199 Jesus wants us to humble ourselves and not others.200 If Jesus wanted to be the Least despite His completeness, shouldn’t we all the more want to be the least precisely because of our incompleteness?201 From the Holy Spirit we receive the heart, wisdom, and strength to work humbly.
  2. Working humbly means prioritizing the other person, wait our turn, and know our place. To work humbly means we do not try to get ahead, elbow aside others, or cut-off someone. To work humbly is to be meek202—just as Jesus was meek203—by not being demanding or stepping on anybody’s toes.
  3. Working humbly is being content with what we get. Always wanting to get more is arrogant because it suggests that we deserve more than we merit. Greed and avarice are also opposed to humility. Our wealth and possessions mean nothing to God; neither do productivity, prestige, and popularity.
  4. Working humbly means being modest. Even though we perform and earn much, we do not merit these ourselves; they are purely due to God’s goodness, greatness, and grace. When we take pride in our work, we claim the honor that belongs to God.204 This is likewise true of boasting, grandstanding, and haughtiness.205 We are not pleased with ourselves but with God. Attributing success to ourselves leads to hubris that disrupts our relationship with God. To those who are inclined to boast, remember, nobody is better than the most menial of workers.
  5. Working humbly means not allowing ourselves to be worshipped. If we allow this because of work, then we disrespect God and hinder Him from working in us. When we allow ourselves to be put on a pedestal, we elevate ourselves and bring down God. Working is not about us being glorified but God. Working is not about achieving name recognition but whether our name is known to God. Working is not about building towers of Babel but building altars to God.
  6. Working humbly means considering the other to be more wonderful than ourselves.206 We are not humble, but haughty, when we think that we are better or know better than others or that we are superior and more important than others.207 When we look down on others we cannot look up to God. When we pretend to be better than others at work, we are arrogant and demean God. It is arrogant to think that we are not arrogant.
  7. Working humbly means listening to what others say. To listen to others is to esteem the other more highly than ourselves. When we do not listen attentively to what others say to us, we deprive God of the opportunity to speak to us through others.
  8. Working humbly does not mean letting others walk all over us.208 Jesus also stood firm for His Cause. Being a Christian worker does not mean being a doormat or a lackey. If someone does walk all over us anyway, then let us be a doormat for them towards God.
  9. Working humbly does not mean we disdain work. If Jesus humbled himself by leaving heaven and dying on the cross, why should we feel that any task or job to be too much and below our dignity?209 Though we humble ourselves a lot, we never stoop as low or as deeply as Jesus did to save us. Contempt for work is awful and dreadful. Even though others might look down on us and our work, the important thing is that we look up to God in our work.
  10. Working humbly means being honest about ourselves. We are spiritually bankrupt and without God we cannot fulfill what we were created for. We are incapable of becoming happy and blissful by our own strength alone. If we are spiritually poor, then we know how tempting it is to have an inflated view of ourselves and how difficult it is to correct that and to accept who we are.210 Even though we are confirmed in our faith, our works are far from good.211
  11. Working humbly means admitting our own weaknesses to others. By admitting mistakes, we show that we are not concerned with our own image and self-preservation but with our image and dignity with God. By showing our vulnerability, we show our dependence on God. By making ourselves small, we endorse that the purpose of our lives is not to make something great of ourselves. By confessing our slip-ups, we offer God the opportunity to put us back on the right track. By openly and frankly admitting our own faults, flaws, and lapses we show that no human being is without sin.
  12. Working humbly means recognizing our own responsibility for failures. Though the pressure and temptation to do bad things are great, giving in to them is our own fault. Our work environment does not corrupt us; our own desires and weaknesses do.212
  13. Working humbly means speaking great of others. When we speak ill of, gossip or slander others, we are proclaiming that we are better than others.213 Even God does not speak ill of us when He has every reason and opportunity to do so.
  14. Working humbly means being deeply in awe of nature. The magnificence of nature makes us small. God created nature in the first five days and man in only one day.
  15. Working humbly means granting others prosperity. Jealousy obstructs humility. Working for Jesus frees us from the tyranny of comparing ourselves to others to feel good about ourselves. Even if the greatest sinner is the only one doing well, it is not our place to call God to account. As long as God saves our lives, we do not need to be jealous of others.214
  16. Working humbly does not mean not having a desire to be recognized, acknowledged, and valued. In fact, such desire is good. God created this deep desire in us for us to focus on Him, to want to be near and with Him. Our desire for significance is the great desire that only God can fulfill. The solution to avoiding pride is not to desire less, but to desire God more.
  17. Working humbly means not idolizing work by thinking that we can save ourselves with it,215 but that we know ourselves to be totally dependent on God’s grace and blessing. God’s two greatest competitors in our work are: the work and ourselves. The humbler we are, the more room we give God in our work.

  1. Philippians 2:8
  2. Isaiah 57:15; Ezekiel 21:26
  3. Isaiah 57:15; Ezekiel 21:26
  4. Philippians 2:1-11
  5. Matthew 5:5, Galatians 5:22, Titus 3:2
  6. Matthew 11:29
  1. Proverbs 11:2, Proverbs 16:18-19, Proverbs 21:4, Proverbs 29:23
  2. Romans 1:29-31
  3. Philippians 2:3-4
  4. Romans 12:3
  5. Matthew 7:6
  6. Philippians 2:5-8
  1. Matthew 5:3
  2. Marcus 10:18, Romeinen 3:12
  3. James 1:13
  4. Ephesians 4:29, James 1:26, James 3:1-12
  5. Romans 2:1
  6. Habakkuk 2:18


  1. Which Bible verse about humbleness do I find particularly appealing and provides guidance for what working humbly means (to me)?
  2. To what extent do I agree with the above summary of what working humbly means?
  3. Are there any missing elements in the above list of what working humbly means? If so, which ones?
  4. How would I personally describe what working humbly means for Christians?
  5. How would I describe concretely what working humbly means for me?
  6. To what extent do I subscribe to the idea that humbleness is an important characteristic/virtue for Christians in their work?
  7. To what extent do I subscribe to the idea that humbleness is an important guideline/principle for the behavior of Christians in their work?
  8. To what extent is humbleness an important virtue and principle for me in my work?
  9. How do I experience the importance of humbleness in my work?
  10. Do I work to bring about humbleness? Do I do so wholeheartedly?
  11. To what extent can I work humbly in my work?
  12. How often have I recently brought humbleness to my work?
  13. How humbly do I do my work? How does it show?
  14. To what extent do I use humbleness as a principle for my behavior in my work? Could I illustrate this using the decisions I have recently made in my work?
  15. When I look back at my working life, could I say that I have increasingly become humbler in my behavior?
  16. To what extent do people I work with think I act humbly in my work? What have they said to me about this?
  17. To what extent do I think God thinks I act humbly in my work?
  18. How can I become and act more humbly in my work? How would I do this concretely?
  19. Which elements of working humbly am I going to bring more of in my next working day?
  20. What am I going to say in a prayer to God about work humbly?
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