Thwacked on the side of the head yesterday about this whole question of whom I am exalting in my life.
I managed to make a bad joke in a public setting (no, not a rude one, or a dirty one, or one in any way in poor taste - just a bad one) - the sort of thing that everyone looks at your quizzically about and then moves on to another subject of conversation. I was doing it (I assume) to stay involved in the conversation which was about something I have no participation in; what I looked like was just crazy (or stupid). It made me reflect back some years ago where a similar instance happened at earlier job with much the same impact and much the same musings as today, except with the added one of "Have I learned anything?"
Who am I drawing attention to in my life: myself or Christ? That's the bottom line, the bottom level question of my day to day interaction with everyone I do.
It's a difficult question to face - I am by nature flamboyant and loud and almost instinctively seek to have attention on me. But is it the right thing - by putting the attention on me, am I pulling off the One whom I'm supposed to be putting it on?
I compare my actions with that of the apostles in the Book of Acts, especially Paul. Time and time again he ends up being the center of attention - not specifically for what he has done but for his testimony about Christ. And, given the opportunity, he spends that attention he gets on proclaiming Christ.
I'm not Paul, and I am not a full time evangelist (or a part time, or really one at all - not my gift). But the point still remains - when the attention gets focused on me, how is it getting there and what am I doing with it? Am I seeking to make it about myself - or God?
The arguments come up in my mind of course: the "If you don't do that, if you just work and live quietly, nothing will happen in your life"; "People will run over you if you humble yourself (there's that thought again) because this world only works if you push to get ahead; and "If you don't play the game, you don't get the reward".
Fair enough, I suppose - on a worldly level. But that in theory is the difference for the Christian: we put our eggs in the one basket of God. As someone else has said, "Faith is believing in God, knowing that if He doesn't come through, we're lost". We are, by living humbly ourselves and exalting God, to count on God to move us on His time and in His way - not by scrambling to get ahead, but by waiting on Him to move things as He wills.
My example is that of this very blog. I often write not having any idea if there is any difference being made by what I write. I occasionally get updates from friends about liking what I wrote or how it spoke to them, but in general it feels like I write and post things into a hollow Internet space. I sometimes grumble as I see the blogs or writings of others which are more successful or more impactful than my own, wondering "Why can't I be that way and have that impact?"
But this is a compact I made long ago with this blog: it is personal, it is my own thoughts, and I would do nothing commercially (via those ads) or otherwise to promote it beyond letting friends know it is here. If it is God's will that it prospers and has impact, so be it.
The reality is, that is what my life should be like as well, seeking to live quietly and diligently. If it is God's will that it prospers and has impact, so be it. We are not called to be anything other than mirrors reflecting the Glory of God. As a mirror has no independent ability to function without something to reflect or a light, so we too are to live and work in such a way that the attention is on the One who is being reflected, not the item which is doing the reflecting.