Something BIG? – Something “for”?
I mentioned yesterday how humankind wants to do something BIG for God. This is not a temptation of unbelievers. No, the temptation to “do something BIG for God” is one which snags many sincere believers. Indeed, some even determinedly dive into it!
You may even now be wondering “What’s wrong with doing something BIG for God?” I know. It sounds like something very good, doesn’t it? But therein lay the trap! It’s a fundamental trap too, one that lay in many a sin. That trap is Pride!
Ask yourself this when the notion to “do something BIG for God” pops into your head: Would I still want to do this thing if I never received any credit for it? — Even if someone else got the credit for it? — Even if someone else wrongly got the credit for it? This is the acid test. It reveals quickly if one’s motive is to glorify God or to glorify self.
Jeremiah is blunt: “Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them.” (Jer. 45:5). Jesus taught “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matt. 20:26). He warned His disciples “…do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20).
More and more these days the tendency is toward spectacle. Attending some churches has become more like attending an emotionally charged rock concern than a selfless gathering of saints offering to God “sacrifices of praise.” (Heb. 13:15). In such settings is easy to confuse emotional hype with spiritual blessing.
Did Jesus do “great things?” Jesus did not build a great edifice, but spoke of the destruction of those built by men. Jesus did not do BIG things, but simple things which left great impression: providing wine, multiplying fish, washing feet and healing individuals. Jesus always ministered to people one at a time. There are no mass healings recorded in scripture. He met a single Pharisee at night, dined the home of a single tax collector, and shared His identity with a single despised Samaritan woman.
He said we would do “greater things” (John 14:12) but did He mean greater in spectacle or in number? There was one incarnate Jesus. He entrusted the gospel to twelve apostles. There has since been millions of Christians.
We can do nothing “for God” anyway, BIG or small. Jesus even stated of His own earthly ministry, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing,” (John 5:19). All things are of God. If we seek to do His Will the way is by giving ourselves to Him as “living sacrifices,” walking in daily obedience, watching as He does His work through us.
I like very much how Mother Teresa put it: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”