Many of us know Proverbs 16:18 by heart. It says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (NIV). And most of us do refrain from bragging and boasting. I very rarely see someone speaking in third person about every success and accomplishment they’ve had. But God was not simply warning us about being an arrogant loudmouth. He tells us elsewhere that He judges the heart; the deep, solitary places that we sometimes forget are not completely our own. In those places He sees if we credit Him or place ourselves there instead.
I may be able to accomplish everything I want. I can push myself to the top of my field, adorned with degrees and awards, have all the money in the world, solve hunger, cure every disease and truly be the definition of a great man, but without Jesus I am nothing. Without Jesus all these things really do amount to nothing in God’s economy. The moment I think that great feats make me anything more than a servant, I am chasing a pipe dream—expecting to find more of myself at the end of it.
What good is a gift from God if it is not accredited to Him? If I am given something that, by its very nature, is intended for good, mighty, righteous and holy work but I then claim it to be of my own invention, I have corrupted it. Just like the time Jesus pointed out to the hypocrites in the synagogues: You already have your reward in full. Even if I use my talent for good, what good is in it for me if I take all the credit? Do I really believe that God will take joy in my use of His gifts if I only serve my own pride with them?
Fortunately for us, our God is infinitely loving and forgiving. Not only did He forgive my tarnished track record, but He also blessed me in spite of it. Me: totally inadequate, completely selfish, thoroughly small-minded and a sinner to the bone. He rescued me from that, from myself, from my sin nature. He not only rescued me from those things, but He also rescued me to a new life in Him. Not only do I experience a full life and a relationship with God, but I have also been given talents—and these talents are not designed for building up myself, but for the purpose of being a reflection of Him.
I think about how important the president must feel. He’s the leader of the free world selected to represent the most powerful nation on earth. When looked upon from that perspective, it seems a daunting task, one worthy of the utmost concern and solemnity. Then I realize the vast responsibility I have in serving God. When I use what God has given me, for His purposes and not my own, I am not merely leading a country, I am representing the Most High. If I possess anything good, it must be to the benefit of the completely worthy God of the universe.
It’s like receiving a free Ferrari and then only using it to collect my mail. I back out of my driveway, slowly creeping to the end of the street where I reach into my mailbox, and then carefully bring it forward to its resting place in my garage. Anyone can see what an enormous waste that would be. I have the potential to double the speed limit on any highway in a matter of seconds and still have gears to spare (even though that’s not advisable). Instead, I give an incredible machine the mundane task of collecting mail as its only break from collecting dust.
How much more so when gifts meant for the glory of the Most High God are exploited to the short lived fame of a mere man. When the Lord gave us Jesus, His greatest gift of all, the special talents that each of us possess are intended for mightier things than we can imagine.
The question you should now ask yourself is this: When I do something good, does my mind immediately credit my Lord or myself? Do I do great things for my own reputation, thereby making them small, or do I do them unto God as they were fully intended?
Realize the truth of whom the gifts in your possession really belong to. Then pray simply, “Use me.”