One issue I struggle with is that of becoming an asshole...I mean, more of an asshole. I'm embarking on starting an "emerging church" in Denver (eventually) and am wondering how I might keep from thinking I'm some sort of ecclesiastical rock star. God has given me some very public gifts for ministry, great. I find myself simultaneously craving and repulsed by people's praise of my gifts. This morning I stumbled on Brother Martin's (Luther)thoughts on this matter from his "Preface to the Wittenburg edition" (1539 ce) He's brilliant, self-effacing, and funny as hell:
If, however, you feel that you are inclined to think you have "made it", flattering yourself with your own little books, teaching, or writing, because you have done it beautifully and preached excellently; if you are highly pleased when someone praises you in the presence of others; if you perhaps look for praise, and would sulk or quit what you are doing if you do not get it - if you are of that stripe, dear friend, then take yourself by the ears, and if you do this in the right way you will find a beautiful pair of big, long, shaggy donkey ears. Then do not spare any expense! Decorate them with golden bells, so that people will be able to hear you wherever you go, point their fingers at you, and say, "See, See! There goes that clever beast, who can write such exquisite books and preach so remarkably well."
A prayer for today:
Thank you for my gifts. May they always be used to point to you and not to myself. I understand this is not likely to happen, but perhaps with your help I might be less of an asshole.
In Jesus' name,