Marcus Aurelius ruled the world from 161 to 180 AD. In spite of an increase in the persecution of Christians during his reign, he was a good emperor. In fact, he is known as the last of the five good emperors of Rome. His death marked the end of the Pax Romana (Roman Peace) and began the decline and eventual fall of the empire. The story is told that Marcus hired an assistant to follow him as he walked through the various towns. This assistant's only role was, when the emperor was praised, to whisper in his ear, "You're just a man." It's said that Marcus had to be convinced to become emperor and he only did it out of duty for his country. Even then, however, he only agreed so long as his adoptive brother also became emperor and they held equal power. He understood the dangers of his position and knew that he had to remain humble in order to lead well.

I realize that none of you are emperors or have entire nations in your charge. But whoever you are and whatever responsibility you have, humility is the only way that you can accomplish it well. In the book of Proverbs we read, "Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom" (Proverbs 11:2, NLT). No one appreciates an arrogant person and people refuse to follow a conceited leader. As the redeemed of God, we have no reason to boast. We are only here by grace and mercy! We are saved, not because of anything we have done but because of what He has done! Whatever you have accomplished, whatever greatness you have achieved, remember: You are just a man or woman, here by the grace of God. But you are worth so much because Christ paid so much for you. And that is something worth sharing with the world!

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