The main topic for January aims to break down one of the components of hospitality: humility. While it may seem a far stretch to place hospitality as an act of humility, I hope that through the next couple paragraphs and posts you will be able to redefine humility from its negative connotations to the recent positive definition published by Australian theologian John Dickson.
The book I am studying throughout this month is a compilation of Dickson’s thoughts and research on the topic of humility. Throughout his book, Dickson makes several connections between humility and service. I will explore this concept further in my book review, but I wanted to share Dickson’s definition of humility so everyone would have the same definition moving forward. Keep in mind that different definitions of humility may be used in different contexts (ex. humility towards God vs. humility among other Christians). Taken from his book Humilitas, Dickson defines humility as,”the noble choice to forgo your status, to deploy your resources, or use your influence for the good of others.” As you see, Dickson’s view of humility does not include putting ourselves down, but instead involves the “willingness to hold power in the service of others.” (Dickson, 2011) Striving after this humility gives you the freedom to use those gifts and talents which God has given you, while at the same time giving you the wonderful opportunity to serve others.
As we come out of the month of December and the topic of hospitality, it is natural to look at the heart of hospitality which I see predominately as service. Depending on your end goal, the act of hospitality is usually done in service or for the good of someone else. We open up our homes to be able to invest into other people and provide them with something, whether that be a simple meal or a conversation.
In addition to looking at John Dickson’s book Humilitas, this month we will also explore the spiritual gift of service and how a heart of humility can overflow into service to others. We will also explore the Biblical foundations of humility and service and why each are individually important to our everyday interactions with others.