It was within a two-week span several years ago that two of my managers stopped into my office separately from each other, both with the same concern. “You’re trying to do too much, and you need to offload some of it to the team,” one said. “Our people want to do things for you,” said the other, “You need to let them.” It was a humbling moment for this one who, by nature, has a hard time asking for help or accepting generosity, and it was a priceless turning point in my understanding of team.
Superman scenarios are not new; they play out every day in scale both grand and small. Even the legendary leader, Moses, succumbed to the deceptive allure of “I’d rather do it myself.” After observing him trying to resolve all the people’s disputes one day, his father-in-law, Jethro, asked, “Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” He went on to offer advice—be available for the difficult cases, but get help for all the others. “That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you … You will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied” (Exodus 18:22, 23). “Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves” (Exodus 18:24-26).
Who knows why we take much more upon ourselves than we need to? Maybe we think no one can (or will) do it any better than we can. Perhaps we think ourselves unworthy of someone else’s help, or we fear rejection. Is there a little martyrdom inside, or passive aggression? Who knows why? Candidly, I’m not sure the “why” is all that important. I think what is important is that we grow beyond the pride of independence and mature into the humility of interdependence. Simply put, people need people; we need each other.
When those in our lives respond to our call for help, we breathe in their much-needed relief, yet the beauty of community doesn’t stop there. For when people give of themselves for us, they, in turn, experience a sense of meaning—a God-given grace—the satisfaction that only comes from helping someone in need. Us.
Father, I need people much more than I admit. Transform me by your Spirit, that I would lay aside the pride and fear that isolate me from those you would send to me in my time of need. Inspire me, also, to notice and to respond joyfully to those who need my help. This is your wonderful way. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Christ in me is humility.