Introducing Steve

Humility is an interesting challenge. How do we get out of the spotlight? How do we do things in ways that don’t call attention to ourselves?

I suppose this thinking was triggered by having spent several conversations during the past couple weeks looking at Paul’s story about how Jesus humbled himself. (I talked about it last week in a post called Concrete.)

This morning I had a chance to wrestle with practical application of the idea of humility, and I write about it with full awareness that it look pretty unhumble

This morning we had a guest speaker in our two worship services. Because I have worked with him, I did the introduction.

In the first service, after the usual biographical details, I said that eleven years ago he and I had talked about my future, a conversation which led me to my current day profession as an associate pastor. I choked up a bit as I said it.

It was completely true information. It established my relationship to Steve and Steve’s to me. It was, I suppose, a public way of saying thank you. It also put me right in the middle of the introduction.

In the second service, after the usual biographical details (the same ones as in the first service), I said, “… and he really really really loves Jesus.”

When introducing someone who will talk about God, doesn’t it make more sense to define his relationship with God than his relationship with me? To the extent that Steve is more credible than me with this audience, why steal strokes for me?To the extent that I am bringing Steve credibility with the people that know me more than they know him, why drag our relationship to the center?

Maybe too much analysis. I know. But maybe fine-tuning matters.

12 thoughts on “Introducing Steve

  1. Joseph Ruiz

    Jon, rather than too much analysis maybe it is simply the fuel for growth, yours and ours. Too often I overlook these teaching moments.

    Fascinating contrast.


  2. Ellen

    I think the way you said it the first time was not bad. To appreciate a relationship with another person is a great, and humble thing. I think Jesus would like what you said the first time better. He might have said, by the way, loving God is even better than loving me. Anyway, I really like your posts, they make me think more about what Jesus really was saying. Thank you.


    1. Jon Swanson

      thanks ellen, and you got me thinking. I wonder both times were fine as they were, but if I had used the same intro the second time, aware of my tearful response and all, that would have been a problem. Because I am self-aware enough to know that I could use tearful emotion as a way to gain empathy (kind of like Undercover Boss or Extreme Makeover Home Edition). Hmm. thanks for helping me keep reflecting.


  3. Mimi Meredith

    I think your Heavenly Father looked down and said, “You’re getting there, Jon.” Here’s to fine-tuning–may we each be humble enough to embrace it regardless of the source.


  4. Meg

    So this is simmering. Marinating.. Whatever. I am trying to frame it in the context of a trip to Africa and wanting to talk about that trip and continue serving the people I met in a different way.

    The way I talk about the trip and share about the trip seems unhumble.

    Simmer. Marinate. Whatever.


    1. Jon Swanson

      Ah, dear friend Megin. It is coming. The way to help I mean. As you keep focusing on the serving part, you are going to get to what to say. And in the meantime, the eyes in your photographs are saying way more than you think.

      Thank you.


  5. Meg

    Not to mention that I now have the following melody on repeat in my brain:

    Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble
    when you’re perfect in every way.
    I can’t wait to look in the mirror
    cause I get better looking each day…


  6. Meg

    Agreed that the way to help is coming… but helping and talking about helping with humility… different.

    And yes, there is something about eyes and windows and souls.



  7. Cheryl Smith

    The first introduction was completely legitimate and authentic, and honored a relationship God has used/is using to help you grow. It’s a thing of beauty and I bet helped those in the congregation that morning relate to Steve on a more equal footing. No, not equal. That wouldn’t be accurate. But they caught a glimpse of the relationship and that made it special.

    Your tweaking the second time around was beautiful, and honored his relationship with Jesus. His love for Jesus was held up that morning for those there, and for us.

    Both good. Both used by God. Then, and now.


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