If I want to be a part of a team of motivational speakers—on a national or international level—I have to have some real talent. I have to have some major human accomplishments—gold medals, best‐selling books, profitable business ventures. Ideally, I will have overcome uncommon difficulties and achieved uncommon success.
If I want to be a part of God's team—on a national or international level—all I have to do is show up and do what I'm told. That's it. He provides the rest.
But some of us don't like this so much. We want to play a bigger part. As mentioned yesterday, even a donkey can show up and do what it's told. We want to be more important than a donkey. We want God to showcase our talent. We want God to use “our” talent for His Glory!
The rest of us simply don't believe we can be on His team by just showing up and cooperating. Surely He needs some kind of talent—the kind we probably don't have. We have more confidence in the performance of a donkey than we do our own. God could never use us.
Celebrity keeps us in a perpetual state of comparison:
- I wish I had her brains.
- He'll never make it with that attitude.
- She does a lot more complaining than I do.
- I don't have her ability.
- I'm a lot better at that than he is.
- I wish I had his confidence.
- If I had the money he has….
If you are focused on what you can do in comparison to other people, you are locked out of your potential. If you are focused on what you can't do in comparison to other people, you are locked out of your potential. The celebration of human achievement is nothing more than a feeling—and will not survive the challenge of daily living.
The 2012 Olympic medalists left Olympic Village with everything they brought in. They left with the same issues they came with. The “thrill of victory” didn't give them any long-term immunity to their human nature. The 2012 Olympic fans also left London with everything they brought in. The inspiration of the Games didn't give them any immunity to their human nature either. The celebration of all things human has no power to do anything but distract us from living a meaningful life of cooperation with God.
If you're into money, Solomon was the richest man who ever lived. If you're into pleasure, Solomon had a thousand women to pick from. If you're into construction, Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, a huge royal palace, water works, and a few cities. If you're into intellect, Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. If you're into precious metals, Solomon collected about 40,000 lbs. of gold each year in tribute. If you're into horticulture, Solomon planted garden after garden. And what does Solomon have to say about human achievement?
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all [is] vanity and vexation of spirit. (Ecclesiastes 1:14)
No one can ever top Solomon for human achievement, and few can top him for human failure. Yet he says:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
I believe Solomon would tell us: “I've done it all and here's the bottom line: Don't stand in awe of any man. Stand in awe of God. Honor Him, respect Him… and do what He says. This is your whole duty as man.”
The more you are impressed with God, the less you will be impressed with man. The more you celebrate God, the less you will celebrate man. To help you see what this looks like, I want to give you a practical exercise.
Take a moment and remember those people you envy for whatever reason. Put all those reasons together—everything they have that you don't—and take a close look at what you could be. Don't just slip in and out, like you're teasing yourself with something you're not supposed to be doing. Take a cold, calculating look at what you wish you were that you are not.
Now take whatever you have bragging rights to and put it out where you can look at it. No false modesty, please. Take what you think makes you special and put it right in front of your nose. Everybody has something they protect as valuable, even if it's just a bad attitude.
You have just formed, in your mind, the perfect “you.” This persona is what you already have and who you already are, combined with everything you would like to be (that you aren't) and everything you would like to have (that you don't).
Now, trade places with Isaiah in this vision. It is important to make this vision your own. Before going any further, close your eyes and ask God to reveal Himself to you as you experience this vision.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord
a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His [robe] filled the
Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy [is] the LORD of hosts; The whole earth [is] full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
So I said: “Woe [is] me, for I am undone! Because I [am] a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal [which] he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
And he touched my mouth [with it], and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here [am] I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:1–8 NKJV)
As you play out this vision in your own mind, do you quickly jump to the “Woe is me” part? I certainly do.
Suddenly, I'm no longer that important—what I am or what I'm not. As my vision of God grows, my own significance shrinks. I don't even want to think about me. I am not interested in me. I'm interested in Him. I don't want me. I want Him.
But then, amazingly, He asks for someone to help Him. And He doesn't have any requirements. I think to myself: “What… this is too good to be true… He's not asking anything of me but to volunteer.” And my hand is suddenly up in the air: “Here I am! Send me.”
Have a good day,