Is it possible to be humble and still be a big shot?

by Doug Nichols

My late father-in-law, who was a missionary in China for 13 years in the 1940s and 50s, said the Chinese had a saying, “You can smell pride and it is not a pleasant smell.”

Recently I participated in three mission leaders’ conferences in Dallas, TX with many ministry and mission leaders worldwide.  It was great to fellowship with God’s people from Kuwait, Bhutan, Egypt, India, Libya, Puerto Rico, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, and so forth.  One brother from Asia, who planted a church among his people in Texas, said one of the biggest problems he had in his church planting ministry was pride among some who had become leaders.

As I met with two major ministry leaders, both of whom lead multi-million ministries in Asia, the whole meeting was totally about them, their work, and the success of their ministry with the smell of pride penetrating the entire time together. In our conversation, I mentioned one brother in Asia and was told that his opinion did not hold any weight as he was an insignificant nobody.

So, can big shots be humble?  Yes, but it seems that they are hard to find.

I once asked a leader to meet with me for lunch with his staff and he simply said, “I’m the Director, I don’t eat with the staff.”

Between conference sessions, I was able to visit the home of a missionary friend and leader, the godly statesman, John Richard.  He is 90, East Indian, and has served the Lord in faithfully in servant leadership worldwide for over 70 years. God has mightily used him, yet he is so humble.