We all like praise and applause and kudos and pats on the back for a job well done. It feels good to be acknowledged, to be validated for your labor, to be recognized and rewarded. And there’s nothing wrong with being honored for an accomplishment, or for honoring others. It’s polite. A social nicety that helps take the sting out of the hardships of human life.
It’s something we’ve come to expect, even demand. We acknowledge and reward and recognize our actors, our artists, our musicians, our straight-“A” students, our athletes, our CEOs, our politicians (to excess), our soldiers (not enough), people who stay in one job a long time, people who stay married a long time, people who lose a lot of weight, people who start a project and finish it on time… the list goes on.
So this week I had an opportunity to get offended. Ever have those? Recognition I thought I had earned didn’t come my way. Friends and family were surprised, even angry on my behalf. (And you know, when your loved ones are angry FOR you, it makes it easier to get your dander up!) I brooded a bit, tried to ignore the whole thing, tried to pretend I didn’t care and it didn’t bother me, brooded some more… you know the routine.
Finally, knowing I was setting myself up for a big, ugly mess if I didn’t deal with it NOW, I sat down with my journal to talk to my Father.
I wrote, “Papa God, You alone are worthy of praise, of worship, of honor, and of glory.”
I paused. Pen to paper, as two words leaped out at me:
Now, I’d like to say I always get instant answers to prayers, but I don’t. But this time, I knew I had my answer. The crushing weight of offense and hurt and ugliness lifted off my chest and I could breathe again. What a relief to realize I didn’t NEED any human kudos. Any praise or honor due for the task in question belongs solely, completely, entirely to God. Without Him, I wouldn’t have even attempted any of the things I thought I’d earned recognition for. Anything I’ve done right or well is due to the life of God that lives in me, the Holy Spirit working in me.
He’s the musician, we are the instrument. He’s the carpenter, we are the tools. He’s the author, we’re the “living letters.” Let’s remember to give honor, when it comes to us, back to the One who deserves it. And if it doesn’t come from others, don’t fret, because it’s not your problem!