Thursday, July 26, 2012

You Didn't Build That!

             There has been a lot of talk in the past few weeks dealing with just how responsible one is for something they create. A speech was made noting that people don’t ever get to where they are alone and surrounding the quote those is a note of thankfulness for those who helped make it happen, whether it be from teachers, parents, and sometimes government help. One may feel differently about individual cases, but if we consider the thought behind the quote, we can make some astute spiritual observations.

The reaction to the above quote seems to reflect a great deal of America’s individualism. I work hard, I create something, I don’t owe anyone anything. Certainly that might sound nice, but, at least by a Biblical standard, it isn’t a lifestyle or mindset that a Christian should ever maintain. Christianity is a religion that demands humbleness, less of a sense of myself, and a greater sense of others. Consider the farmer who built bigger barns found in Luke 12:13-21. Just in verses 17-19, the personal pronouns “my” and “I” appear eleven times. Throughout his inner dialogue, he had the mindset of “I DID build that.” In that train of thought, he seemed to come to the conclusion that because it was all of his work, then what was produced was his to do with as he pleased. What was it that he forgot though? Someone taught him how to farm. Someone taught him how to build barns. Someone provided him with seeds. Ultimately he forgot that ALL that he had came from God, and thus, all that he had came with the responsibility to use in a way that served God. Regardless of what one has today, they had help from someone getting there, and above all else, all of us are able to prosper because of God and His creative power.  Sometimes one just has to wonder how often God looks upon His creation being misused, abused, hoarded, and treated selfishly, and says to Himself, “Hey, you didn’t build that!”

               While we need make sure we have a humble approach in the world, it’s important to do so within the Lord’s church as well. It can be easy for us to approach God and His church like the Pharisee, who prayed, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (Lk 18:11-12). He speaks of himself, and all that he’s accomplished, but he is compared to a publican who “beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!'” (Lk 18:13). The publican realized that he could not build himself up, but that he was reliant on God to do so.  We can easily be like Diotrephes, who loved to have preeminence (3 John 1:9), while forgetting that it is Jesus who has the preeminence in our lives (Col 1:18). We can gain the idea that the things we do build up the church, and that the church just can’t function without me, and yet Paul constantly too the approach that while he and others planted and watered, it was God who deserved the credit because He was who gave the increase (1 Cor 3:6). When Paul returned to Antioch with his missionary team, “they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).

                It is beyond easy to have the attitude of, “I did that!” or, “I built that!” and yet there is no place for that in the Christian lifestyle. If all that we did is guided by God, as it should be, then we certainly do our part, but credit goes to God. In all things that we do and accomplish as servants of God, let us keep a mindset, not of “I did that!” but instead a remembrance that, “God did that!” God created us and this world. God sent His son to die for us. God built His church through His son. God is the one that give the increase through our actions and His providence. God is the one who is preparing an eternal home. In what part do we have the right to say, “I built that”?

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