Pause

It's really not about you. It's not.

It's about God.

Whether anyone might describe you as religious, or pious, or even good, none of these has meaning apart from the maker of all that is good and right. We are dependent on the one who made us to make us better.

But we can give in to the process; we can be willing to become more what God has in mind. Such a moment as this—now—provides one such opportunity for the change to continue.

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Listen

"So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

Matthew 6:2–4

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Think

You know the expression "to toot your own horn"? It's all about touting yourself. We all know self-promotion is integral to our get-ahead culture, characteristic of the go-getter, promoted to an art form already in elementary and middle school, the competitive nature of sports and academics, and, scarily, in our culture accepted as a common strategy in relationships.

Scripture affirms you should not seek attention or the validation of others when doing God's work. Integral to a life of piety—consistently choosing your story to unfold with God (who always chooses you to unfold within God's story)—is not the call to try and stand out by tooting your own horn. Rather, we are called to be a part of God's symphonic poem of creation.

John Ballenger

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Pray

God, may I know the deep deep joy of being a part of your work, and a corresponding independence from the constant need for the attention and admiration of others. Amen.

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Go

There before you lies all the world,
Given as a gift.

Go into the world as a work in progress,
Someone who is not yet who you will be,
But someone who is on the way.

The world will be better and blessed
Because you are in it,
Growing, becoming, gleaming with
The light reflected from above.

John Ballenger

John Ballenger is pastor of Woodbrook Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Worrying at Scripture and wondering about life constitute one of the great joys in his life. His wife, daughters, dog, cats, congregation, and friends (all also great joys—most of the time) keep him worrying and wondering!

Making Space: Be Thou My Vision

Carter Harrell

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