Philippians 2:3 – Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

In exhorting Christians to have the same mind or the same attitude as Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote:

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – Philippians 2:3-4 NLT

As encouragement, I wish to call your attention to a modern day example of humility: Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta, the first living Medal of Honor recipient for an ongoing military conflict since the Vietnam War. SSG Giunta was awarded the medal today in a Presidential ceremony for combat actions above and beyond the call of duty on October 25, 2007 during his second tour in Afghanistan. In the midst of a L-shaped ambush, despite great personal risk in the face of intense enemy fire, his actions fulfilled and exemplified the promise to leave no soldier behind.  As you would expect, concurrent with the recognition has been incessant national media coverage. The sergeant has been most uncomfortable with the spotlight, and has taken every opportunity to redirect the light onto the character and the actions of his fellow soldiers working together as a team – over the entire 15 month deployment rather than just that one night.

During a CBS 60 Minutes program which aired on November 11th, correspondent Lara Logan asked what kind of soldier he is.  SSG Giunta said, “I’m average. I’m mediocre.” In the silence which followed he added, “This is only one moment. I don’t think I did anything that anyone else I was with wouldn’t have done. I was in a position to do it. That was what needed to be done. So that’s what I did.”  Taken back by his statement and in apparent awe, Logan almost stuttered her words, “This is the single greatest honor that the military can bestow on its own. And it comes right from the President of the United States himself. That’s pretty good for a mediocre soldier.” The sergeant’s reply?  “Think how good the great soldiers are.”   (quoted from the CBS  transcript dated Nov 14, 2010)

This humble soldier is my kind of hero! How much more pleasant would life be, let alone church business meetings, if we considered others better than ourselves? If we fought together as one team against the real enemy rather than fighting each other? If we built each other up (edification) rather than tearing down? If we built the team and enlarged the family rather than pulling apart?

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4 ESV

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