November 22, 2006
I've had my fill of people saying, "Oh, it was none of me, it was all God."
I know what is usually behind such verbal contractions: an authentic desire not to claim personal glory. That's fine and good, and I admire such intent. But good intent does not, by and of itself, produce authenticity. Wanting God to receive praise doesn't mean unintended mistruths are legitimate conveyors.
A virtuoso dazzles me with Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C Sharp Minor. I explode with enthusiasm, and then hear, "No, it wasn't me, it was God." How dithering! How intellectually sloppy! No, it was the pianist who had highly developed skills. The person trained for years, was well rehearsed. Yes, God gave the talent: all of it is God's. God is praised when we take His gifts and with deliberate devotion do well.
I'm so amazed when Toby or Victor from our IT Department arrives on the scene and in minutes fixes what I think is absolutely unfixable. God didn't sort through the many options and correct them. Toby or Victor did. And because they are gifted, God is praised for their good work.
Leadership is a craft, honed over years of learning and doing. We take His gifting and work at it, so in the end, as we do well, God is praised. The more we as leaders reinforce the importance of others' refined giftings are to His kingdom, the more they will see themselves as conduits of His grace.
One day a rabbi, seized by religious passion, striking himself on the chest, fell to his knees before the ark: "I'm nobody! I'm nobody!" The cantor of the synagogue impressed by this display joined the rabbi on his knees with, "I'm nobody! I'm nobody!" The custodian watching from the corner couldn't restrain himself either. He joined the other two on their knees calling out, "I'm nobody! I'm nobody!"
The rabbi tugged at the sleeve of the cantor with, "Look who thinks he's a nobody."
God of limitless creativity, unbounded by the small borders of our ideas, Maker of your imago dei, we are made to enjoy You forever so that in our joy You are praised. Help us see concerts of life, crescendos of praise, crafted and executed by those you yourself made. You delight in us doing well, that which You created us to do. For when your children are praised, we know You our Father are, too. That for You, we believe, is Your pleasure. And it is Your pleasure we seek. Amen.
"Some people assume that learning about God's bigness necessitates negative obsession with their own smallness. You might hear them say things like, 'I am not valuable' or 'I have nothing to offer.' Such statements do not honor the nature and authority of God; they demean it."