January 2, 2009
Look What I Did!
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10, NIV
"So ... have we talked about me, yet?"
Several years ago, my good friend Jeremy and I would always kid each other with that question during our conversations. It was said usually after one of us realized we were talking way too much about ourselves. About our accomplishments. Or about anything that we wanted the other to know so he or she could give up some praise and props.
It was said in jest, but also with an ounce of truth. For we really were so self-focused that the other would periodically enter into the "conversation coma" while listening. You know ... the whole eyes glazed over, occasional nodding of the head and maybe an "uh huh" every now and then type of thing.
I have gotten that a lot with my friends over the years. But I used to just think, Well, I'm just very verbal and like to over-describe things and tell really good stories ... so that must be why people can't stay focused on what I'm talking about. Right.
Several times recently, the Holy Spirit has checked me on that interpretation. In one instance, I was sharing with a small group about my "ministry" of reaching out to back-burner Christians. I think if I had just simply said that I feel like the Lord surrounds me with these people and has allowed me to speak into their lives and that's all, then that would have been fine.
But oh no. I had to go on and on and list example after example of how I had "helped" and "ministered" and said exactly the right words to help a brother or sister see his or her bad life decisions, so that they would get back on track with the Lord.
I didn't realize what kind of a peacock moment that was 'til later. I've also noticed that I tend to be less than humble when it comes to sharing about my acts of service. I won't fall into my own trap and list them all out right here and now. But I sure would love to. Why? Because I want the praise. I want the exaltation. I want the recognition. I want to feel like Sally Field at the Academy Awards, get the glory and know that "You like me ... you really like me."
And that's where I get it all wrong. The Bible says that the Lord is the one who is supposed to lift us up. Not ourselves and not our fellow man.
"This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word" (Isaiah 66:2b).
Even if no one ever found out what my "good deeds" were or how I prayed for this person or how I gave financially here and there, I should still be satisfied in knowing that God knows. Because everything I do should be for His glory and not my own. It's a tough pill to swallow for someone who enjoys running her own fan club. But Jesus tells us to live counter to our culture and to our fleshly desires.
This new year I am aiming to start afresh, and I'd like to encourage you in this effort, too. May we both seek humility and look not to ourselves but to what HE is doing in our lives.
"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from our Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you: (Matthew 6:1-4).
Intersecting Faith & Life: Think about an upcoming good deed that you are planning (providing dinner for a sick friend, babysitting, helping someone move, etc.). Tell no one what you are going to do or what you've done after it is completed. The Lord knows. You will have glorified Him, and He will be pleased.