We all want to feel good about the efforts we make at work. But a healthy sense of accomplishment can quickly turn to smugness when our proposals are well received, our ideas affirmed, our sales made, our clients happy, or our deals done. For those in vocational ministry, the temptation may be the number of seats filled in the sanctuary, a well-received sermon, the number of people who say “thanks”, and the like. It makes us feel good about ourselves and our abilities.
A section in Don’t Waste Your Sports by C. J. Mahaney encourages athletes to do a heart-check, to see whether they are playing for their glory or God’s glory. The same principles apply to those of us who can’t dribble a ball or retired from the field when we received our high school diploma. The following is lightly adapted from C. J.’s thoughts:
There are a few telltale signs that we are working for our own glory instead of God’s glory. We know we are falling into this trap when:
- We have no higher purpose than succeeding.
- We are more concerned about improving our skill or accomplishing our agenda than growing in godliness.
- We use our occupation to glorify ourselves, rather than glorifying God through godly actions.
Unfortunately, it easy to grow in our own abilities and skills while neglecting growth in humility, self-control, or other Christ-like qualities. As Christians, there are things we can do to maintain our humility and make sure we are working for God’s glory:
- Thank God for the gifts and opportunities he has given you.
- Recognize your limitations with humility.
- Welcome correction and the contribution of others.
- Honor those in positions of authority over you.
- Put your team’s or company’s interests ahead of your own.
By consciously making these efforts, you can transform an environment that’s prone to pride and selfishness to one that appreciates humility and demonstrates the love of God.