Saturday, November 8, 2008

Give Credit Where It's Due

I love reading a passage of Scripture that is familiar, only to find new jewels of truth as I meditate and contemplate the verses again.

John 6:22-33 has done that for me this morning.

I laughed out loud as I read and imagined the interchange between Jesus and the crowds in vs. 31-32. They say to him, "The Scriptures say, 'Moses gave [our ancestors] bread from heaven to eat.'"

Just imagine Jesus' face! Mentally, he's got to be saying to himself, "WHO DID?" But, instead he says aloud, "Moses didn't give them bread from heaven. My Father did." Now, let's just be honest for a moment: misquoting Scripture to its very author isn't the brightest idea I can come up with. Nevertheless, Jesus gently corrects faulty thinking in regard to Biblical truth. [Exodus 16:4 and Psalm 78:24 both clearly state that God provided that manna, not Moses' magic wand.]

Too often, we're quick to acknowledge humanity (yes, ourselves, too) as the source of blessing. It was somebody's quick thinking or our hard work that brought about the good thing. I think that's because we worship and serve an invisible God, and our minds struggle to attach tangible blessings with an intangible Lord. And sometimes when we do acknowledge God as the giver of "every good and perfect gift," it comes across as though we could have eventually gotten it on our own, but we just needed God's extra "push" to get us over the hump and into this place of blessing. (The "Lord is my helper.") How arrogant! How foolish! How sinful.

Giving appropriate and generous credit to where it is due requires a humility that stretches us beyond the comforts of our own pride. That's why expressive worship is so hard for some of us. Even in the privacy of our own homes, many of us can't laugh with God or sing to Jesus with spontaneity or sincerity, because we don't want to be humble enough to recognize how unworthy and unimpressive we really are. And get those same people in a corporate worship setting and watch the excuses fly! Certainly, we are valuable; we're made in his image. But Eve's first sin was believing she could be "like God." We fall for the same lie every time we elevate our involvement in our accomplishments and blessings.

Just as we're annoyed by braggarts, I imagine God gets a little weary of such behavior from us, too. Read Job 38-41 as though God is a prosecuting attorney; you'll get humbled real fast. But with Job, give credit where it's due and respond in submissive worship: "I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. . . . I was talking about things I did not understand, things far too wonderful for me. . . .and I repent" (Job 42:2,5).

No comments: