The first time I asked this question was when I was sixteen years old and standing on stage. I had landed the part of a self-absorbed southern belle in our high school play. Not much of a stretch to play…well, except the southern part.
I wonder how many times I’ve asked that question since then. Not out loud, of course! I mean, I’m more sophisticated than that, right? But, I’ve had plenty of opportunities, between playing the piano and teaching and emceeing, for that pesky question to rise up again and again. It may be real life now, but I am often playing the role of the more visible member of Christ’s Body.
1 Corinthians 12 speaks much of the Body of Christ and many of us know this very well. There are the hands, the feet, the pinky toes and the mouths. We’re all called to be different parts of the Body. Most of us prefer the comfort of the “less presentable” roles, though, don’t we?
However, what happens when you are called to be the mouth or the face? How do you handle this in a God-glorifying way? I’m not sure many of us know the answer to this question. Pride might rear its head in one way (“Will the spotlight be on MEEEEE?”) or another (“Oh no, I couldn’t possibly do THAT job.”). Vanity causes us to run to the front spot or a false-humility causes us to reject it.
Someone has to be the face. Someone has to be the mouth. What happens when you’re called to that?
Not to us, LORD, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.
Psalm 115: 1
How do we play the visible part and yet give glory to God? Maybe you are thinking that you don’t have to worry about that. You’ll just stay behind the scenes and never concern yourself with being front and center. But, even if you are not serving in a highly-visible way, you probably play the lead role somewhere. Are you a mom? You play lead to your kiddos. Are you an expert on something at work? If you are serving in any way…and that includes those quiet, “invisible”, behind-the-scenes opportunities…you have the opportunity to take the glory for yourself. It’s not just those on stage, but it’s everyone serving with flesh on their bones. That flesh wants the kudos, the honor, the glory.
Whether we’re the face and mouth or the elbow and right knee, we must fight our desire to receive glory. Christ is our answer. He’s always the answer!
Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about Him. John 7: 18
If we are standing on stage, working in the kitchen, cleaning toilets or leading worship, we all have the same challenge: to seek the glory of God, not ourselves. Jesus spoke truth to the crowds. He reflected His Father and pointed to Him. Everything Jesus did was unto the Father. But, whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory. When I focus the crowd on myself or when I grumble about the lack of thanks I’m getting for my hard work or when I have not depended on God for my service, and done things in my own strength, this results in dissatisfaction, in frustration, in anger. I didn’t get the glory I thought I deserved!
Regardless of the role we are called to play in the Body of Christ, may we set our minds on Christ, our Forerunner, and seek the glory of the One who sent Him. May we purpose to thank one another and pray for one another and cheer one another on in this spiritual race. We can only do this with our eyes fixed on Him.
With Love, Wendy