Humility and the Olive Trees

 On Sunday, we were all exhorted to embrace our calling as Christian leaders. A leader was defined as someone who humbly spreads the influence of Jesus Christ. In both the Old and New Testament, that term “humbly” simply means “lowly.”

It is the idea of having a modest opinion of oneself. Regardless of the nature or number of gifts that the Lord may share with us, our job is “to submit ourselves in a lowly spirit to the power and will of God.”

We can’t influence others without power—but, interestingly, that power comes from our humility. It is our humility that keeps us dependent upon God.

In chapter 4 of the book of Zechariah, there is a great little story about the Jewish leader, Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was tasked with rebuilding the temple after exile. He had very few resources, no money, and an uncommitted work force.

God gave the prophet, Zechariah, a vision that could encourage Zerubbabel. It concerned a solid gold lampstand with a bowl and seven lights on the top. Each of the lights had a channel attached, and those channels were connected to two olive trees standing nearby.

Prophetically, God was stating that the lamps would stay perpetually lit if their source of oil was the nearby olive trees. Likewise, Israel would perpetually enjoy the blessings of the Lord if they stayed connected to Him.

Seems like a weird story, but it was meant to remind Zerubbabel that his source of strength as a leader was not large storage sheds filled with timber and gold. He shouldn’t try to rouse the people into a frenzy of activity in order to get the job done.

Rather, he was told that the work on the temple would go forth “not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). The word “might” suggests a collective strength and “power” focuses more on individual effort. Neither would get the job done.

Zerubbabel was meant to lead with humility. His resources would be limitless if he acknowledged that they came from the Lord.

Well, so will ours! As the Coast Hills family responds to our present calling, we all need more resources than we presently have. The tasks seem daunting, so it is time to lead with humility. It’s time to notice the two nearby olive trees and get plugged in.

The jobs ahead won’t get done by “might” or individual effort, but we can exercise our influence in our homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces if we serve with humility and allow the Spirit to flow in and through us.


Sherry Worel

Sherry Worel is a Bible teacher at heart and lives a life of ministry. She’s been involved at Coast Hills teaching Women’s LIFE, Bible studies, online courses, devotionals, participating in Upstream conversations, and much more. Having a love for education, Sherry has over 50 years of teaching experience with schools, churches, and mission agencies. As well as earning her Master’s at Talbot Seminary, she rounded out her education with 35 years as Head of School at Stoneybrooke Christian School. Sherry is happiest with a book or fishing pole in hand.

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