To God be the Glory

Text: John 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.’ (NRSV)

A problem that is often associated with the clergy, is that when the ministry they are doing is highly successful, they become the face of the ministry.  People look at what has been accomplished and begin to think that it could have never been accomplished without that particular person leading the charge.

This is a dangerous situation.  When we begin to assign the success of the church’s mission to anyone but Jesus, we are forgetting the basics of our theology.  We are forgetting that all we do is only because of the power of God granted to us through our relationship with Jesus.  The phrase, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, comes to mind (Philippians 4:13).

In fact, the church’s main role is to point to Jesus through the success of the church’s ministries so that those who don’t know Jesus will be drawn to Jesus.  When persons are instead drawn to an individual, the role of the church is undermined.  The risk is a cult like allegiance to the person God has called to lead the community to Christ, instead of allegiance to Christ who is always to be the head of the church.  And if this happens, a change in human leadership could very well spell the end of the effectiveness of the church’s ministries.

But this is not just a clergy issue.  You see, all of us are called to live our lives in a way that brings glory to God.  None of us should be taking credit for successes in life.  As soon as we believe that we have accomplished anything by sheer determination and the sweat of our brow, we have denied the truth that all we have comes from God as a gift from the father of the heavenly lights (see James 1:17).  And worse, we have usurped God’s glory.

Our role as individual Christians is no different than the role of the church.  We are to be pointing to Jesus in all that we do.  We are to be living in such a way that God receives glory and honor and praise.  We are to draw all people to Christ by giving Jesus the praise for anything that might be accomplished by our words or actions.  He must increase, but I must decrease.

Pray with me:

God of all good and perfect gifts, forgive me when I take credit for the success that is clearly only achievable because of your gracious empowerment.  May I always be reminded that, but by your grace, I can accomplish nothing of worth.  May others be drawn to you through my life as I am filled with humility before your throne of grace.  AMEN.

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