20
May
10

Taking Credit

I was getting my hair cut this evening by Val, the stylist who does an awesome job.  She is a believer and we always get into a conversation about faith in some fashion.  She often asks me questions and we talk about church and the human condition.  Tonight, Val was excited about meeting a college-age young man earlier in the day who was preparing to go to the Philippines as a missionary for a year.  She was so impressed with his zeal, outgoing and winning personality and his dedication to go on this mission to “save people.”  I shared in her excitement as we talked about the opportunity this young man has to make an eternal investment in lives.

It was at this point that she turned her attention to me and how she admired me for the work that I do.  “You deserve a lot of credit for the work you do,” she said.  I cringed and told her, “I couldn’t do anything in my ability.  It is the power of God at work through me.”  She responded that I have to take some credit, that would only be human.  I said, “The only credit I can take is my effort to be obedient to the calling God has give me.”

I mention this, not as some shallow attempt at false humility, bringing praise to me.  Instead, I want to point out that I, along with anyone else who serves Christ in this world, can do nothing that has eternal value in our own power.  The problem is, I too often try to do that.  I sometimes plan, prepare and promote, and then neglect to pray for God’s power and His purpose to be worked out in ways that go far beyond my own.  Do I do that because, in the end, I want the praise?  Do I think I can do it in my own ability and so I don’t need God?  Both are wrong motives and assumptions.  The truth is, I am at my best when I’m at my least, and God takes over.

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.  1 Peter 4:11

The ones who do the planting or watering aren’t important, but God is important because he is the one who makes the seed grow.  1 Corinthians 3:7

How do you deal with the temptation to seek praise for what you do for God?  How have you seen God show up and do more than you expected?

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