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When I was younger, I had a friend at school that we called “bossy” in the sense that she would tell us what to do with great authority and she had many rules for any game we played. At breaktime, we would go out onto the dusty playground and before we could play, she would first tell everyone how the game worked and the rules of the game. She did this without fail and surprisingly there was minimal fighting while she acted as leader of our small little group. The reason this arrangement worked was because she had one rule that we all willingly agreed to and which she herself practiced: Nobody Act Big.

As young as she was, her philosophy on leadership seemed to work well and she never had a shortage of loyal followers. Only later in life did I realise that she was quoting one part of a well-known quote that just happens to have some sound theological advice. It is:

“Nobody acts big. Nobody acts small — everybody acts medium.”

God says the same thing in a similar way:

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3)

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth, A stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:2)

“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” (Matthew 20:26-27)

“Give preference to one another in honour.” (Romans 12:10)

“Through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

“Regard one another as more important than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

All of the above passages speak of having

1) an appropriate “sober” view of yourself and having

2)an attitude of honour towards others.

It seems that both are tied up in being loving towards others.

Sober judgment is to have a reasonable, balanced view of yourself that is level-headed. It does not matter what your achievements are, how many degrees you have, or how many awards you have received, you still have an appropriate appraisal of your abilities, talents, gifting, and character. In our world of social media and personal promotion, this is becoming a rare quality. But having sober judgement is to both value your strengths, and at the same time thinking clearly about your weaknesses or limitations. The result is that we avoid pride and arrogance.

It means that you don’t go about “speaking yourself up” or “seeking feedback” from other people. You don’t manipulate results so that you look good or create situations where you will shine. Being sober minded, you know that it is God that approves your work and so you seek His pleasure not that of people. It’s being true to your character and not acting big in your head.

Honouring others is not acting big in the world - where the people around you are given value, just as you value yourself (not making yourself without worth.) Nobody likes someone who considers themselves more important than others and wants preferential treatment. We have all met that person who asks:” Do you know who I am?” Neither do we appreciate those who talk about themselves all the time or think that they are always right. An “I-told-you-so” is never popular; neither is a “know-it-all.”

It is an attitude that regards others as important and valuable, capable of making a significant contribution and worthy of the love of Christ. Honour gives birth to respectful speech, letting others go first, delighting in the joy that other people receive in their achievements without comparison or envy. Instead, honour celebrates others, cheers them on, encourages them. Honour asks: “How can I help you? What can I do for you?” Honour says: “Your needs are more important than mine, how can I best help you.”

Honour seeks to understand, asks questions, is patient. It appreciates differences, finds common ground, and accepts help. It is beginning to sound a little like 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 which Paul describes as the most excellent way!

The effect of honouring people is that you release them to trust you, bless you and serve you, encouraging them to stay true to themselves and God and becoming the best version of themselves.

And in the process of honouring others, we honour God.

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will, they were created and have their being.’ (Rev 4:11)

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

Rich Wilkerson, pastor and speaker said: “Our culture has confused the concepts of honour and respect. Honour is not merely a matter of showing respect because it is possible to respect a person without having love for that individual…and honour is not possible without love. True biblical honour must originate from a heart of love.”

Imagine a world where leaders “act medium?” I am sure that many of our frustrations with leadership would change if this principle was followed. When we as leaders act medium we live with a sober judgement of ourselves and a habit of honouring others.

We are not big, we are not small, we are medium.

What size leader are you?

Your medium sister


Women of Reverence welcomes Michelle du Toit as our guest contributor for this month and our theme is LEADERSHIP.

Michelle du Toit is wife and mother to two adult children. She is the author of the blog Heart Treasure ( where she shares “meaty” biblical treasures to challenge and encourage believers in their walk with the Lord. She loves ministering to women and believes in mentoring according to Titus 2:3-5. As a result, she has spent many years pouring into the lives of women in conferences, discipleship meetings, retreats, and workshops. Currently she is more focussed on writing material for bible studies, hosting fellowship events and as qualified Life Coach, is focussing on helping people build new strategies that bring an abundance to life.

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