Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Daily Office Reflection: Giving Credit

Psalms 78:1-39 * 78:40-72; Judges 7:1-18; Acts 31-11; John 1:19-28

The three readings set out for us today have a common theme among them: knowing to whom credit should be given. (For the liturgical nazis out there I know there is a fourth, but it is not conveniently set forth in my Contemporary Office Book, {what I utilize each morning to read Morning Prayer} so you'll just have to get over yourselves.)

In Judges we have "the Lord" reducing the size of Gideon's army from 32,000 to 300. The reason given for this action is Israel would only take the credit away from me (the Lord) saying 'My own hand has delivered me'. The battle is just about to start at the end of today's reading. We need to stay tuned for the conclusion. Notice that by reducing the number of Gideon's army makes the task ahead look impossible, and certainly much harder, and yet Gideon believes and pursues the objective.

In Acts we have Peter and John walking along, this is right after Peter's long speech about the life and work of Jesus being the fulfillment of the prophets, and they come across a man unable to walk because of ankle and feet problems who was begging for alms at the Beautiful Gate. And Peter heals him with these words: I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk. And the man does so. This is done in Jesus' name, not Peter's or John's. And in the Gospel of John, which we started reading yesterday, John points elsewhere, not to himself, not only for the authority he claims in baptizing but also for who is coming.

These three accounts remind us that although we each have many and varying gifts to share, they are not for our glory. We do the work, using those gifts and talents as we may and can, always knowing that the glory in the result needs to lie elsewhere. These stories remind us that "it is not all about us", but is about pointing to God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Sure we can enjoy and revel in our successes and victories, like Gideon will do, like the man who was lame and made whole did. In that merriment and joy, we need to remember to not only give thanks to the One to whom credit needs to be given, but to remind others that the picture is bigger than the narrow lens we may be looking through. Achievement after hard work should be reveled in, but always in that reveling we need to point to the One who made it possible.

Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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