I am excited to share this month’s book as it was a huge perspective changer on my view of humility. While the book as a whole is full of great thoughts, this book review is going to specifically focus on the first couple of chapters. The first chapter redefines humility, and soon after makes the connection between humility and hospitality. This book is a great resource for those looking to use their gifts and talents in service of others and desiring to really understand the meaning of godly humility.
The first chapter answers the basic questions of what is humility and why does it matter. When looking back throughout history, some of the most influential people are marked by their humility. John Dickson makes a statement in the first chapter which really sets the stage for the rest of his book. “Sometimes humility is not the obvious answer, it may be counter-intuitive to culture.” Looking at the connection between humility, and how we are called to live as Christians, it is not a surprise that it can seem counter-cultural. While it may not be encouraged by culture, it is something appreciated by society. Rarely do you see someone become frustrated with the humility of an individual; rather, it is usually the self-absorption of an individual that causes conflict.
Re-defining humility is the first step to really understanding Dickson’s passion for this subject. Naturally, when we think of the word humility we usually connect it with a negative or low view of oneself. Even looking to its original meaning in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, we are given definitions such as, “low, or low to the ground, to be put down or to lower yourself.” Dickson takes this definition and connects it to our relationship with God. Dickson redefines the definition to mean, “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.” God has given us each abilities, talents, and gifts and it is important to be aware of this fact. Summarizing this portion of this chapter, I see it this way: instead of putting yourself down or hiding your strengths, you are embracing what God has given you for whatever purpose God has for your life.
While there are many other subjects discussed in the book Humilitas, I will summarize just a few others. Dickson states at the end of chapter one: “humility enhances the ordinary, not for personal gain, but instead for a bigger purpose.” Reading through this book sparks the thought of how one can use their God-given abilities for the bigger purpose of God’s will. We are called to be humble and put others first, but in doing that there may be action on your part as God calls you to use your gifts in the service of others.