Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.1 Corinthians 1:31-2:1
“But let the one who boasts boast about this:Jeremiah 9:24
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord
This morning I have found myself thinking about some deep theological concepts. You may well ask, “Why?” Isn’t theology the purview of academics, philosophers, and divinity students? What has it got to do with regular people in the routine day-to-day?
My awesome wife Rebekah has a great answer for that. “Theology,” she often says, “simply means ‘God thought.’ If we have any thoughts about God then we are theologians.”
So we were talking about church, and the churches we have served, and the different experiences and seasons of life and growth we have been privileged to experience. Everywhere we have been – the internships in Gastonia, Jackson, and Daytona; the fourteen years in Pensacola, seventeen years in Brandon, and eight years in Wake Forest – we have seen God at work and felt the vibrancy of life and growth in so many ways.
But there is a problematic term that is often used – especially by those who are confused when it comes to understanding and identifying effective leadership – and that is “Glory Days.” Such a description misses the mark on so many levels.
“I think the reason it’s unhelpful,” I said, thinking out loud, “is because the ‘Glory Days’ tag suggests something about us, something temporal, when what we really feel is gratitude to God.”
That’s it in a nutshell. “If I’m going to boast it will be about my weakness, so that Christ’s power and glory will be all the more obvious” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Grateful witness – not protagonist:
Over the years, Rebekah has helped fine tune my spiritual sensibilities in so many ways. I believe a foundational reason she managed to avoid the traps of “look at me” success, career-building, religious politics, self promotion, ladder climbing etcetera is that she always understood that she was simply a grateful witness to God’s work rather than the protagonist in the story. Any glory was and is all God’s. And besides, this is the gospel, this is the good news about Jesus! So of course we’re going to experience life and growth – it has very little to do with us.
Add to that our conviction that God is always in the business of moving forward – of new creation, and that “nostalgia” is a seductively dangerous mixture of selective memory and make-believe, and you can see why pride in what was is never so useful as anticipation for what God will be doing next.
It’s a lot like the statement of faith from Carley Simon’s classic song, Anticipation: “These are the good old days…” At least that has always been our experience. Our blessing. Our truth.
So please do not describe anything we have ever been involved in as “Glory Days.” Instead, join us in gratitude for what we have been privileged to be a part of, in celebration that this day is the Lord’s and we will rejoice in it, and in eyes wide with wonder anticipation for what God is about to do next.
The Lord has done it this very day;Psalm 118:24
let us rejoice today and be glad!
In gratitude – always – and with thanksgiving – DEREK