Friday, 01 July 2016 07:00

Big Deal!

Written by  Bryant Hansen
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When my brother was about two years old, he began to mimick my father’s “pet phrases.”  One particular phrase was “big deal.”  He would hear my father in conversations with friends or other businessmen and my father would inevitably say to one of them, “Well, big deal” (meaning that he was unimpressed).

 

Of course, my parents thought that was cute until my parents and my two-year-old brother were riding in the back seat of the car of a businessman with whom my father had hoped to do business.  This man was rather affluent, and as they drove, he began to recount an endless list of the amounts of money that he had given to the church or what building he had built for the church and any number of other things that he had done “for the church.”  And...you guessed it...at the most pregnant pause in the monologue, from the backseat, a prophetic two-year-old voice was heard to say with the most appropriate inflection, “BIG DEAL!”  My father did not get the business.

 

“If a tree falls in the woods,” the question goes, “and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”  Yes.  If I act in obedience to God and nobody sees it, does it have an effect?  The question itself betrays the self-centered idolatry behind it.  What good is it for me to do good works if nobody sees me do them?  We tend to believe that we are doing favors in our obedience.  God does not need me.  Isn’t it amazing how essential we think we are?

 

A friend once told me, “Bryant, if you die today, the church you serve will gather for worship the following Sunday.  They might be a little bit sad (or happy) the following Sunday and perhaps the next, but the Sunday after that, someone will probably start a new sermon series.”  Now, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say, but it is true.  Like it or not, someone can fill what we think of as our essential spots.  We sometimes forget the first question of the Westminister Shorter Catechism, “What is the chief end of man [and woman]?” and the answer, “Man’s [and woman’s] chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”  Our good works are to be motivated by a desire to glorify Him. 

 

How do I know if my motive is to glorify Him?  Do I long for or need the approval of people around me?  I know, I know…everyone likes to hear a “thank you.”  To say this is believed to be just good manners.  But do I do what I do in order to receive the recognition?  I am NOT the center of the universe!  God is.  He MUST receive all glory.

 

We know there are portions of creation that no human eye has ever seen.  Why is that?  God does not need us to see it in order for Him to be glorified.  He sees it and takes pleasure in His creation as it points back to Him.  All of the exquisite beauty and variety; the colors and the shapes; the sizes and the smells—even if I don’t ever see, hear, smell, touch or taste any of it—God is still glorified by His creation.  If I give something, do something, say something, etc. for the glory of God…then the glory of God is all I need.

 

Where does that leave us?  God has graciously allowed us to use the good gifts of His creation to glorify Him.  God will be glorified.  The question is really whether or not you and I will willingly be a part of it.  Our capability to glorify God is not something God needs from us. It is a gift from Him to us.  Like any good father however, he delights in seeing his children enjoy his gifts.

 

So when you give—give with joy!  When you encourage someone—do it with gladness!  When you rub your wife’s feet—do it with willing cheerfulness!! “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” [Colossians 3:17 (NIV)].  When we use His good gifts to His glory and with thankful hearts—then it is TRULY a big deal.

 

Bryant Hansen is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church, 211 S. Chestnut Street, in Prattville.  He is a graduate of the University of Memphis and Covenant Theological Seminary.  He also studied at L’Abri, England.  He and his wife Karen have five children:  Kiersten, Wesley (Casey), John Peter, Samuel and Hayleigh.

 

 

Last modified on Friday, 01 July 2016 07:23
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