Church Member of the Year

Matthew 20:21–24 (ESV)
"And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers."

Whenever I read this passage of Scripture, I relate the mother of James and John to today’s helicopter parents—parents overly involved in their children’s lives directing and managing their activities to an outcome they desire. But as I read it further, in verse 22, the sons do not admonish their mother but rather pick up the conversation their mother started as if it was their choice to ask the question all along.

No wonder the other ten became indignant. Evidently, the promise from Jesus to the Twelve earlier (Matthew 19:28) was not enough for these two.

But this post is not about an over-indulgent mother, the selfish actions of James and John, or about the indignation of the others, but about the body of Christ today in the various congregations across America.

As members of a local church, we should be using the spiritual gifts God has graced us with in service to those inside of our congregation as well as to the community in which we live. More importantly, how we act while utilizing our gifts is even more important.

Scripture is certainly not silent on the importance of humility (Romans 12:3; Colossians 3:12; Ephesians 4:2; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; Micah 6:8; Proverbs 11:2, just to name a few), and this is even more applicable when we are performing acts in His service. Whatever our gift(s), we should exercise humility and not appear boastful because of something God has bestowed upon us.

It is when we feel we have accomplished this gift of our own doing—regardless whether it is in the accumulation of wealth, possessions, or in the talents of preaching, teaching, singing, or in playing an instrument, or in the ability to nurture, and pray, and provide encouragement and comfort, or any other gift received—that we lose sight of who is really behind the talents we have. Instead of praising God for our gifts, we seek the acknowledgment of our fellow man to validate our superiority in a particular area.

Stay humble with what God has given you and do not use it to rise above your fellow man. He did not give you your spiritual gifts for your own edification—but rather to use in His service to glorify Him by building up those around you. It is, after all, not about you.

And I sincerely hope no church actually has an award called “Church Member of the Year”…..