“God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.”
Sometimes I feel like a zombie. I go through my day working, laughing, talking and dreaming all under the guise that I am the center of my universe. I wish I was different, but in the end I’m like most everybody else: mindlessly filling my own needs because my culture has told me to do so.
I can’t say that I’m completely to blame though. Everywhere I look the notion of egocentric consumerism seems to relentlessly bash itself into my face. It’s all about the money I make, the house I own, the job I have, the causes I care for, the ambitions that I pursue. I scarcely see myself in the context of a greater community; mostly because true community has been obliterated by modernity.
Then I look at the Kingdom of God. Man, that is a totally different animal. In the first century Israel was a community of God, not a community of individuals. Jesus entered that context to explain how God’s Kingdom existed for two reasons: To glorify God and bring people together. In this equation there is no me. There is God and there is the group. Jesus called his followers (which includes us today) to set aside their personal desires, their identity and even their life for God and for their friends. God’s intention here isn’t to make us dull or uniform (our diverse and beautiful world as a created reflection of God attests to that alone) but rather because this is the mental state that is required for unfettered love. This is the state of humility. That’s why the humble are blessed, because they can experience their true loving selves as made in God’s image; beings who are purposed for a community.
Spartan-B312 or Noble Six showed us a glimmer of what this looks like in Halo: Reach. As the newest recruit to Noble Team, the player assumes the role of Noble Six as the planet of Reach is besieged by the Covenant. What makes this team of Spartans special though is that they have their own personal strengths and identities but their meta-identity, their true self if you will, is only understood in the context of their group as a whole. While they are all amazing soldiers, their true glory comes in the way in which they humbly understand themselves to be a part of something greater than anyone one of them alone. This humility causes every member of noble team (save one) to lay down their life at some point, not just for the sake of the group or the mission but for the very survival of the universe.
I think that what Jesus, the disciples and the early church did is pretty similar. They saw the ways that their community glorified God and brought out the best of them. Many of them were so humble that they laid their identity and lives down in order to be defined by Christ and the Kingdom of God which he proclaimed. This is what I want to be like. I want to set aside my selfish desires and live only for the will of the Kingdom. Because living for myself can bring me happiness, prosperity and wealth but living for the Kingdom can bring restoration, healing and love on a scale that I could never achieve on my own. Indeed, a humility like that could cause you to lose yourself but gain the community of the entire earth.