Getting To Know The Kindness and Humility of Mart DeHaan
Two years ago, I got a privilege to meet Mart DeHaan, who was the president of RBC Ministries at that time, the grandson of the founder of RBC Ministries. He is the most humble leader that I have ever met, and even arguably one of the most humble among all the leaders that I have ever known!
As a leader that has lead RBC Ministries for 26 years that time, I haven’t heard any single negative thingabout him. Every stories that I heard about him from the others are always about how others have experienced his kindness and how they were so impressed with his kindness and humility. Simply unbelievable!
And, two years ago, I got a privilege to get the first-hand experience of his kindness and humility, when he came to Jakarta from USA. When I first met him at the airport, he didn’t only shake my hand, he also looked at my eyes. He meant his handshake and asked for my name. For about 10 seconds, I got a full attention from the highest-position leader of an international ministry. And he did that not only to me, but to others also. He meant every handshake that he did and got interested to know more about the people whom he is handshaking.
So many good impressions that I got from him, but maybe the greatest that I will never forget is this following moment:
That night, I stayed at the office to accompany him, but we stayed in the different room. We use a shared bathroom outside the room. That time, I just went out of the bedroom to take a bath. Just at that moment, he just finished taking a bath, and went out of the bathroom. So, I thought that was my turn to use the bathroom. Just when I about to come into the bathroom, he told to me, “Wait…” I looked at him and he came with A MOP in his hand, and about to mop the wet floor in the bathroom.
Confused and surprised, I told him, “Sir, you don’t need to mop the floor. I want to use the bathroom now. The floor will get wet again anyway!”
I’ll never forget his reply to me:
“No… You see, when I came into this bathroom, the floor was dry. When I finish using it, I have to keep it dry.”
Then he started to mop the floor in front of me. The president of RBC Ministries mopped the floor in front of a much younger and ordinary Indonesian staff, at the place where he came as a guest, in the late of night, when just only two of us there, with the knowledge that I will get the floor wet again soon!
Wow! What an integrity and humility! So many stories that I have heard about him, and at last I could experience it directly, with my own eyes!
He gave me hope. Hope that a servant-leader does exist, and it’s possible for a leader to do such great humility.
Because I was soooooo impressed with him, I brought a book that was written by his grandfather which I bought, titled “Broken Things”, and asked for his autograph. I just expected him to put his autograph and I would be very happy. But he did more than I expected. Rather than only putting his autograph, he wrote me an encouraging message:
“Charles, thank you so much for your hospitality. It was so good being with you. Mart. 2 Peter 1:1-13”
I keep that precious book until today. And everytime I feel that I lack of hospitality, I would open that book, and that simple message gives me a great encouragement.
Everytime I’m asked about a living leader who is extremely kind and humble, I don’t need to think twice. You can be sure that I will answer in a second, “That’s Mr. Mart DeHaan”.
Thank you, Mr. Mart. I thank God for you. Hope you can continue to be a blessing to many other people.