Last week, I had the opportunity to be honored. I don’t mean someone gave me a compliment. Although that is a blessing too. I mean truly honored. Biblically honored. It was difficult to receive. Hard because I am keenly aware of how I like hearing good things about myself.
My journey with Christ has been full of surprises. Lots of upside down awareness. Like being aware that I have the tendency to be an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. I want attention, but when I get it, I am consumed with how I don’t deserve it. Then I live in my head obsessing about my reaction. Ugh.
Last Friday night marked the end of my leadership in a ministry I’d served in faithfully for the past 8 years. I sat in a place of honor at a table set apart from the rest of the crowd. It was even elevated. I remembered the parable in Luke 14:7 about not choosing a place of honor when you are a guest so that you won’t be humiliated when a person of distinction asks you to move to a lower seat.
I felt conflicted. I prayed and asked the Lord to help me receive the love from my friends. They invited me to sit in the place of honor. I continued to bounce back and forth between thoughts of wanting the accolades to feeling guilty for wanting them. Each time I wrestled, I prayed a quick prayer. Asking God to help me receive the gift of honor. And God was faithful. He helped me stay focused on my friends and Him, not me.
Later, as I reflected on the night, I became aware of two distinct realities: 1. God had indeed rescued me from the pit of hell. He alone was responsible for calling me out of darkness into His marvelous light. And 2., My life in Christ was bearing fruit.
In Romans 12:10, Paul reminds us to outdo one another in showing honor. Several people stood and shared how they had been personally blessed by me. As one after another shared, I began to weep. Not tears of sorrow. But tears of joy. I remembered just 10 years ago I was in a dark place. A place of selfishness. A place of taking, not giving. I had no concept of God and His love for me. I was empty, broken and alone.
Hearing my friends say such encouraging words of honor reminded me that God often takes the most broken, dirty people and makes them whole and clean. The kind words from my friends were true, but they were true because of what God had done in and through me.
Do you feel you are too dirty to be used by God? Do you think you’ve messed up one too many times for God to forgive you? To use you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.