Our church has recently partnered with the city in providing a job training program at our church. The program has only been up and going for a short time, and so earlier this week, a group of city officials stopped by to get a tour of our facilities, and to see the program “in action”. I was not the one giving the tour, but I happened to be in the kitchen getting a cup of coffee when the tour group passed through. After I was introduced to the group by the person leading the tour, one of the city officials said, “You must be very proud of the work that’s happening here.” My response was quick and to the point - “Yes, I really am!”
It wasn’t until after they left that I realized the serious mistake that I had made. You see, all month I’ve been struggling to feel good about the ministry work that's happening through our church. There have been set-backs, frustrations, and challenges. The result is that I have been feeling less than excited about the work. So it was nice to be recognized and acknowledged by that city official. His affirmation made me feel good about what I was doing. And while there’s nothing wrong with getting compliments, and feeling good about them, the problem came in that it was human praise that was making me feel better. And that’s a problem because I should be serving for God’s pleasure - not man’s. Ephesians 6:7 puts it like this, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”
In this verse, the Apostle Paul reminds us that all we do needs to be done for God - for His pleasure, for His purpose, and for His plans. The challenge comes when pride creeps in and we try to make our lives about us, instead of being fully about God. And it’s that same pride that can cause us to quickly fall from the pedestal we’ve put ourselves on when we’ve made life all about us.
So what’s the solution? How do we keep pride from creeping into our lives? Well, the good news is that the answer is actually very simple. We keep our focus fully and completely on God, and on what He’s doing. We focus on His grace, and glory, and mercy, and compassion, and provision. When we do this - when we acknowledge that everything comes from God, and is for Him - it helps us remember that everything we have, and everything that we’re able to do, is because of the talents and gifts God has given us. It’s like the hymn says, “To God be the glory, great things He hath done.” It’s all about what HE has done, not what we have done.
So today, let’s commit to making our lives all about God. Let’s acknowledge that all we have is from Him and for Him - and then, let’s honor Him in our words, actions, and thoughts.