Psalm 75:6-7 No one from the east or the west
or from the desert can exalt a man.
But it is God who judges:
He brings one down, he exalts another.
We tend to pay lots of attention to who is popular, who is in power at the moment, forgetting that all such things are ephemeral. Much of society indeed seems to run on the principle of “It’s not what you know but who you know,” and people are forever chasing gain or advantage from this person or that person. We forget that in the final analysis it is God alone who can truly lift us up. Spatial factors, terms of size and distance and direction, are actually irrelevant when talking about God, since He is infinite and by definition the whole universe exists in Him. However, it is still meaningful from our perspective to talk about heaven, “God’s abode,” as being “above” us. Gravity isn’t an issue for Him, but it sure is for us! That’s why we use “above” and “below” in talking about status, value, influence, authority, and many other things. It has been said that in God’s kingdom, “The way up is down,” meaning that striving for advantage is no way to advance in fact. As James said, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10) James said a lot of really practical stuff! One thing we are sure to find when we get to heaven is that ranking will be nothing like how we see it on earth. People who were total unknowns in this life will have vast power and influence, and “movers and shakers” in this life are quite likely never to make it at all. The thirst for power and position is a deadly trap, just like the love of money. When we find we have these things, the only wise course is to seek God for how they are to be used, for His kingdom and His glory, and not hang onto them for themselves.
I’m as human as the next guy, but I’m thankful not to be a power hog. I grew up with somewhat out-sized influence in some circles, simply because I was a Caucasian kid in Japan, and my father was something of a “big cheese.” I’m used to people paying attention to me, and frankly, that strokes my ego. That’s risky! Next week I will be taking part in events where I will be very much the center of attention, and that’s scary. It’s good that it’s scary to me, because my concern is whether I will accurately obey and represent Christ in each of the activities. The “old me” would have just eaten it all up, feeling it was my due, but now I realize this is an opportunity for influence, to draw people to Christ or drive them away, and the last thing I want to do is drive people away from Christ. Reading straight through what I have prepared to this point, it took just under 10 minutes, when I am allotted 25 to 30 minutes to speak. I certainly don’t want to just rattle, though I have proved myself quite capable of that. I want to say what God wants to say through me, with each word accomplishing that for which He sends it. That calls for a lot of humility and obedience! However, I do know that He is more than capable of using even me, so I’ve got to get my eyes off of myself and onto Him, applying myself diligently but knowing that He will get the job done.
Father, thank You for all that You have done in me and through me. Thank You that You aren’t through with me yet. Help me not draw back from any assignment You have for me, but rather move forward in complete humility and trust, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled on Your schedule, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!