“But when Nebuchadnezzar’s heart became arrogant and hardened with pride he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory.” (Daniel 5:20)
“But you Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself though you knew all this.”
“They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not a man!" Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down and he was eaten by worms and died.” (Acts 12:22-23)
God will simply not share His glory. Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Herod learned this the hard way. This is very sobering to me because I think there is no greater place than in ministry for the temptation of arrogance. In YL Capernaum we see wonders weekly. We get praised for what we do with our friends.
It becomes a temptation to believe our own press. It is tempting to get drunk on the accolades of success. It is tempting to believe we pulled off a successful venture. It is easy to get our self-esteem from our ministry rather than from Jesus. But how do we know when we are doing this? Here are a few tell-tale signs we are keeping the glory from God.
Being territorial or possessive of the ministry God gave us and showing anger when someone is perceived as infringing.
Possessiveness about the donors God gives us.
Jealousy when someone else gets the credit I believe I deserve.
When I can only receive praise but not criticism.
Controlling others. My way is the only way.
There are many other symptoms but these really grab me. So does this mean we cannot have joy in our labor?
Absolutely we can! 2 Corinthians 4:1 says, “We’ve been given this ministry by God’s mercy.” It is a gift and that is the key. When I know this is all a gift it is easy to give glory and credit to the gift giver. But when I feel I earned it and am entitled then I am in trouble. I am listening to the counsel of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Herod rather than Paul.
The Lord wants us to enjoy our ministry and simply recognize it is all from Him. We will get many affirmations and those too are gifts from God. I find it so helpful to receive those graciously and in my spirit return this as a bouquet of praise and thanksgiving to God.
O God, show us your glory in Capernaum that we may glorify you back.
His and your servant,