Note to future self: be humble, seek God
Dear Future Jeff -
I’m writing you from the distant past of February 2016. Remember those days? Living in a 1 bedroom apartment in San Francisco? 5 years of wonderful marriage? Discovering the ideas of Rene Girard, and discussing them with other founders? Making great progress on Tule with a small but incredible team? Life is currently full of blessings, and I hope that continues for us/you.
I’ve been repeatedly been told that money and success corrupts. This is not always true. God can entrust people with large amounts of wealth and influence to be stewarded for God’s will. But often, money corrupts. I recently listened to a sermon on humility that pointed to 2 Cron 26:3–20 as a example of this in scripture:
Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.
But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.
Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the Lord had afflicted him.
Like Uzziah, we have been blessed immensely by God. Being born during during this time of technological revolution. Having a family that instilled hard work and education. Finding a wife that thrives as an entrepreneur. Meeting a co-founder who has discovered a world changing technology and is willing to let me join the journey. Being accepted into YC despite a modest university pedigree. The blessings are just overwhelming. I have always tried to work hard, but I believe that this many blessings compiled, must be supernatural.
So here we are, like Uzziah, blessed by God. Next comes the warning. God does not tolerate pride and treating other things as more important than him. We see this clearly repeated in Matt 23:12:
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted
I believe this scripture literally means that God will humble you. I don’t think this contradicts that he is a loving God. I think that a life of humility is more enjoyable and rewarding than a life of pride and anxiety. Therefore, humbling us, is an act of love. But wouldn’t it be better to choose humility than to be humbled?
Therefore I urge you, future Jeff, to keep this in mind. Try to be humble. Try to put other’s first. Try to will the good for others, love them. I think this will be a better life.
P.s. — I’m curious how these ideas relate to the ideas of Finite vs Infinite Games. Seems like a good thing for Future Jeff to work on.