by Rebecca Livermore
As Jennie got up and spoke, I was enthralled. I was also intimidated. Jennie was one of the teachers in the women’s ministry at the church I attended. So was I. And Jennie was, well, amazing. She spoke with enthusiasm and boldness. Her Scriptural insights were outstanding. She used a whiteboard, showed a clip from a DVD, and had excellent handouts. Everything fit perfectly with her main point. In essence, her presentation was flawless. We were all amazed and impressed. But as I sat there, I couldn’t help but think of the teaching I would the present next week. Would I have a clip from a DVD? Probably not. How about an amazing handout? If I did that, people would think I was copying Jennie (and they would be right!). Next to Jennie, I felt inadequate as a teacher.
It wasn’t wrong for Jennie to give an excellent presentation. She used her gifts to glorify God. But there was something wrong with my response. It revealed the heart of a person who wanted to be noticed. That, unfortunately, is human nature. It is also human nature to focus on the people up front, rather than God.
Paul recognized this tendency in people, and intentionally chose to “tone things down.” He didn’t focus on excellent speech or wisdom. He didn’t try to “wow” the crowd. He simply presented the truth of the gospel without any bells and whistles. He did this so that their faith would not be in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God.
This doesn’t mean we should never do anything flashy, but it’s important to examine the motives of our hearts. Everything should be done with an attitude of submission to the Lord, and a desire to shine the spotlight on Him, rather than ourselves.
Father, I pray that You will help us to examine our hearts. Reveal to us any tendency we have to shine the light on ourselves, rather than on You. We pray that all of the work we do, whether secular or sacred, will be done for the sole purpose of drawing man’s attention not on our wisdom, but on Your power.
Thought: Use your journal to examine your life today. Are you doing anything for the glory of self rather than the glory of God? If so, repent, and ask God to help you to shine the spotlight on Him rather than yourself in the future. (Note: If you don't like to journal, spend some time in prayer on this topic.)
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