OK, so I have been reading the Book of Acts for the past few months. Just taking my time and God has really been showing me all kinds of things I have never seen there before. I love how you read the same verse at different times in life and they can take on new life.
One of those times happened this morning. Warning this might make you throw up in your mouth a little. Here is what I came across. This was after Herod made a speech:
"The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with maggots and died." Acts 12:22-23
This hit me for obvious reasons. One I don't want to be eaten with maggots. On my top 5 list of ways I don't want to die that might have taken number one or two now. Can you imagine? Let that scene sink in. Let the smells fill your imagination...
As a pastor and communicator it can be so easy to start believing what people say. You preach your guts out and they tell you how wonderful it was or they send you notes saying how much what we said touched them and changed them and gave them hope and... maggots! How many times do we give that praise back to where it belongs? For me... I hide behind a false humility but really I love it. Who wouldn't.
BUT, all of that praise is only because God gave me a gift, allowed me to work on that gift, and because He shows up when that gift is used. It has nothing to do with me other than my obedience. That is the role I play. I am just obedient.
So the next time someone praises your message make sure you tell them where the praise is due. Be mindful of the maggots!
*** One side note of transparency. For the first four or five weeks when Church of the Suncoast went to two services we saw great numbers and things happening. It was easy to take the credit for that. But, for the month of March we were down and I wanted to blame God. How easy it is to take credit when God moves and then blame Him when things don't "appear" to be moving forward. I think it all goes back to the lessons from this verse!***