Craig C. Hill
Servant of All: Status, Ambition, and the Way of Jesus
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2016.
Available at Amazon.com.
To be brutally honest, I have to confess that I have an ego the size of the Grand Canyon. I always have to dominate the social and intellectual spaces around me usually through humour and hubris. My self-esteem and self-worth is very much tied to my achievements as a scholar, which I know is both unhealthy and unspiritual. I try to walk that fine balance between being humble, being seen to be humble, and promoting my agendas and significance when the opportunity arises. Nobody likes a self-congratulatory blowhard, but the thing is, as an author, you are expected to engage in Authorpreneurship, active promotion of your books through speaking engagements and social media. I recite to myself daily 2 Cor 4.5 and Rom 12.3, but Lord it’s hard to be humble in the market place of intellectual ideas and on the blogosophere.It is in this context that I really enjoyed and benefited from Craig C. Hill’s book Servant of All that deals with a biblical approach to ambition. Hill addresses mainly pastors (and scholars) with the biblical perspective on career, ambition, and servanthood. He offers some sober and wise words of wisdom on this subject. I particularly liked the chapters on ambition and hierarchy. Plus Hill offers quotes from many musicals like The King and I and Evita, so naturally, I’m a fan, plus he reflects on his own personal experience:
My own career as a pastor and a professor is neither a triumph nor a tragedy. It is instead a mixture of achievement and disappointmenbt, of wins and losses, of ambitions realized and thwarted. Some things have gone better than I had reason to expect, but others worse. I have been both unfairly advantaged and, more rarely, disdavantaged. In short, my short is rather typical and so boradly correaltes wit the experience of most pastors and other so-called professionals (p. 135).
All in all, this is a very book on how to think about status and ambition and how to serve Christ honorably in a culture that favours a meritocracy. And the forward by William Willimon is worth the price of the book alone. A recommended read.
For a similar topic, I recommend John Dickson’s Humilitas.