Billy!

Juan and I were having a conversation yesterday. Billy McKillop’s name came up and my immediate response was “He is one of my favorite people in the world!”, to which Juan answered, “Mine too!”

This is my 6th entry in the Tribute series, and I’m so glad to dedicate it to this awesome person, my friend Billy.

I know Billy from my days at Pinelands Presbyterian Church, in Miami. When Juan and I first started attending that church, we came in as a couple in great need of support and spiritual strength. Billy, more than likely, does not know how big of an impact his life and leadership was for us. In all our years in ministry we had never met a person quite like him. He showed us what true humility looked like. He demonstrated real love for people and a genuine concern for their souls and well being. Billy was not boisterous nor seeking accolades, but he served quietly and wholeheartedly. I remember many days when God’s grace surprised me through Billy’s life. All I had to do was watch him at work or have a conversation with him, and I would often learn something new about compassion and evangelism. I had not fully understood how God’s grace could be so evidently displayed in leadership, until I met Billy McKillop. I am so grateful for the work God did in my heart through him.

Billy has a sweet, thoughtful, and supportive wife by his side, and together they have raised three passionate and loving children. The McKillop family has served in ministry both in local churches and abroad. Wherever they go, they display God’s goodness for all to see. Their commitment to the expansion of God’s kingdom is evident in their life choices. Many have come to the knowledge of the gospel through their labor of love. Thank you Billy, Sherry, Caleb, Zachary, and Gabrielle, for your service to the Lord. I am one of those people whose life has been deeply enriched by yours.

After Billy's installation service at New City Fellowship (Billy and Sherry are second and third from the left)

After Billy’s installation service at New City Fellowship (Billy and Sherry are third and fourth from the left)

Pride in Self-Exaltation and Pride in Self-Deprecation

Confession: I tend to compare myself to others. I know I’m not supposed to, I know I shouldn’t, I know nothing good comes from it, but I do it, nevertheless. Sometimes I win in my comparison games, and I think I’m better off, more talented, more spiritual, or a better parent. More often than not, I feel like the loser, the one with less wisdom, less education, less financial status, and inferior parenting skills. Sometimes I compare my house, or my kids, or my job, or my dog.

As I’ve grown older and matured, my comparison games have lessened, and I have felt freer to accept who I am. However, I seem to slip back into this pattern when I least suspect it. Why can’t I be like that person who homeschools her children perfectly, or like the one who lives in the perfect house or has the perfect body or the perfect marriage? Yes, yes, I know nothing is “perfect”, but it seems perfect to me at the time.

It’s easier to confess that I think of myself less than others, as the attitude could appear as humility. But, truthfully, sometimes I think I’m better than others as well. There is nothing pretty about admitting this, but it’s the honest truth. I may think of myself as more spiritual or mature or whatever else, until God reminds me of my need of Him (and He does that very skilfully).

Like I said, one kind of comparison may appear as low self-esteem or humility in a twisted kind of way, while the other arrogant. But I think I’ve come to understand that it doesn’t matter what end of the spectrum I’m in, all comparisons stem from pride. Pride if I think of myself higher and pride if I think of myself lower. True humility is to love God and receive what he gives me with gratitude. This includes not only who I am as a person, but also my lot in life. Humility is also understanding my propensity to sin and receiving the forgiveness that only Jesus can grant. When I understand my weaknesses but I also accept his grace and his will for my life, that is when I am truly humble. In that place, I neither exalt myself nor self-deprecate. In fact, I’m not the center of my world, but He is.

I want to live humbly, loving God with all my strength and mind and soul, and loving others as myself. Comparisons have no place in a Christ-centered life.

Lord, forgive me for my pride. Restore me. Help me to live humbly before you. All glory belongs to you.