Misdirected Praise

As an avid college fan, one of the highlights of the sporting year is the NFL draft every Spring. Over the course of 3 days, NFL teams get a chance to draft players from the college ranks who they feel will be a help to their team. In order to help teams determine which player they want, the NFL hosts a “combine” in which players get graded on speed, strength and various skills. I spent some time on Saturday watching some of these drills and it is always amazing to see the abilities of these athletes.
Some no doubt will view their own abilities with humility and thank those who helped them along the way. Others, however, use competition like this as nothing more than a bragging or “showcasing” opportunity and will often tweet or retweet the quotes of the analysts that compliment them. Obviously most of these athletes would not be in that position without a lot of hard work; however, our passage today offers a stark reminder of how we should view our gifts and abilities.
1 Corinthians 4:7 states, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”
The context of this verse deals with divisions in this Corinthian church as some were clearly holding men up in the church as their “leader” to the apparent exclusion of listening to other teachers and pastors in the church. They undoubtedly held these men in higher regard then they should have and very likely some of this praise was causing some to think of themselves “more highly than they ought to think”.
Paul uses this situation to remind them that every feature, gift, or skill we have has been ultimately given to us by the Lord. Whether it be physical beauty, the ability to excel in sports, a teaching or preaching talent, an eye for business or a positive personality trait, each of these have been given to us by God. When we remind ourselves of this fact, we keep ourselves in check and don’t allow pride to take its deadly root. Instead, all praise and glory needs to be reflected back to the One who gave us that ability!


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