Thursday, April 14, 2011
Today’s Topic: Who Gets the Credit?
Today’s Text: Isaiah 41:14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
If you have ever been to the central part of Wisconsin around the Dells, you have seen the massive rock formations that are there. The Wisconsin River was formed as a result of the Biblical flood and these rock cliffs are incredible, seemingly rising out of nowhere and towering above the landscape.
For a long time now that area has become a Midwestern tourist attraction. I remember as a young man with a family spending every Labor Day weekend with the kids and relatives at a campground near there and enjoying all the waterparks and recreation.
But one thing was missing – nice golf courses. Not anymore. Several fabulous golf courses have been built in recent years, along with massive resorts with indoor water parks for year-round recreation. Yesterday I got to experience one of those courses, and it was fantastic.
The course is beautiful, and how they built it fascinates me. Portions of the course are carved right out of the rock formations. Much of it meanders through grasslands on top of the rocks. Some of it squeezes through huge trees of a century-old forest. The machinery that must have been used to build it had to be huge. Dirt movers, tree haulers, and rock cutters all combining to create a recreational paradise for people like me.
Not only did the designers and builders do an incredible job, but the people who work there were fabulous also – friendly and models of servant hearts. But there’s more. I had made a promise to Dudley Donaldson, my good friend and missionary to Swaziland, that I would take him golfing before he went back to Africa. I said we would get in the car and drive as far south as we must to find a nice course open and ready for play. Well, one of Dudley’s relatives got wind of our plans, and completely paid for our entire day yesterday – unlimited golf with a cart on a fabulous golf course. We were both exhausted when we were done, but it was a great day.
So many people coming together to make this possible for us, but who really gets the credit? Well, I don’t know about anyone else, and I can’t speak on behalf of the people that did all the work and manage it now, but for me, to God be the glory great things He has done!
It is so tempting to take credit for our accomplishments. It is so easy to bask in the pleasure of our possessions and pursuits. It is so satisfying to be praised for what we do. We are so needy when it comes to our emotional health, and we have been deceived by the world and our own pride into believing that we deserve praise and that the praise will somehow heal our hearts.
When Israel was at one of its lowest points in history, and walking in fear because of the terrifying enemies all around, God told them not to be afraid. He told them to have a proper perspective of who they were, and it wasn’t very nice. God said they should see themselves as worms, and little ones at that. That doesn’t fly with today’s self-worth philosophies, does it? But humility to that degree is essential if we want to know God and see His work. Look at what God says:
“Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the LORD and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
Every tool they needed to do their work was from God. Every enemy that was conquered was because God gave them strength and weapons. Every accomplishment of their own hands was never the result of their own hands, but the hand of God. In everything that they did they were to rejoice and give glory to God.
May that be true of us always. Glory to God for a day of golf!