LATJ: Free to be Second

11 09 2009

2nd-placeRecognition is good. We all want it. We all seek it. So what’s wrong with trying to be #1? Shouldn’t we always be striving to be and do our best? Absolutely! So what’s the issue?

Whenever I talk about the merits and trappings of recognition I find myself referring to Nicole Nordeman’s song “Legacy”. The whole song is great, but the opening lyrics say a lot:

I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who’s who and so-n-so’s that used to be the best
At such’n’such … it wouldn’t matter much

(You can listen to the whole song here)

I think where we go wrong is in doing things for our own self-glorification — “look at me”, “look at what I did”, etc. We’ve all met people with big egos who think so much of themselves and think they are better than others. Most of us probably prefer not to hang around those people because all they want to talk about is themselves and their accomplishments.

Take a look at 1 Corinthians 10:31-33:  “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Look also at Colossians 3:23-24: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

We begin to see what our attitude should be about work, or anything that we do. In his book “Think Like Jesus“, George Barna says “Our work is an assignment from God, and we honor Him by doing everything with excellence.” So we are to do everything diligently, faithfully, and with success as our goal. But let us not forget that the source of our strength and abilities is the almighty God Himself. Notice in the scripture references above who should get the credit for everything. Go ahead and receive the kudos and accolades from those around you, but stay humble and praise the Lord for your achievements.

Years ago, one of the pastors at my church was talking about a place that he worked before he decided to become a pastor. At one company they held a contest to see who could come up with the best statement about their life’s goal. I’m sure there were submissions that talked about being successful, being a great leader, being wealthy, etc.. But his was the winning entry, and it didn’t focus on self:

 “My life’s goal is to live my life in such a way that God receives the greater glory

Ask someone today what their life’s goal is…it will tell you a lot about them. What about you?

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