The request came when I was twenty. "Can you address our church youth group?" We aren't talking citywide crusade here. Think more in terms of a dozen kids around a West Texas campfire. I was new to the faith, hence new to the power of the faith. I told my story, and, lo and behold, they listened! One even approached me afterward and said something like, "That moved me, Max." My chest lifted, and my feet shifted just a step in the direction of the spotlight.
God has been nudging me back ever since.
Some of you don't relate. The limelight never woos you. You and John the Baptist sing the same tune: "He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less" (John 3:30 NLT). God bless you. You might pray for the rest of us. We applause-aholics have done it all: dropped names, sung loudly, dressed up to look classy, dressed down to look cool, quoted authors we've never read, spouted Greek we've never studied. For the life of me, I believe Satan trains battalions of demons to whisper one question in our ears: "What are people thinking of you?"
A deadly query. What they think of us matters not. What they think of God matters all. God will not share his glory with another (Isaiah 42:8). Next time you need a nudge away from the spotlight, remember: You are simply one link in a chain, an unimportant link at that.
Remember the other messengers God has used?
A donkey to speak to Balaam (Numbers 22:28).
A staff-turned-snake to stir Pharaoh (Exodus 7:10).
He used stubborn oxen to make a point about reverence and a big fish to make a point about reluctant preachers (I Samuel 6:1-12; Jonah 1:1-17)
God doesn't need you and me to do his work. We are expedient messengers, ambassadors by his kindness, not by our cleverness.
It's not about us, and it angers him when we think it is.
We who are entrusted with the gospel dare not seek applause but best deflect applause. For our message is about Someone else.