A thought by Max Lucado (2011-05-02) from his book, Cure for the Common Life (p. 88). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Max continues this thought by saying, “But when you empty yourself, God has a useful vessel. Your Bible overflows with examples of those who did.”
“In his gospel, Matthew mentions his own name only twice. Both times he calls himself a tax collector. In his list of apostles, he assigns himself the eighth spot. John doesn’t even mention his name in his gospel. The twenty appearances of ‘John’ all refer to the Baptist. John the apostle simply calls himself the ‘other disciple’ or the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved.’ Luke wrote two of the most important books in the Bible but never once penned his own name.”
Max goes on, “Paul, the Bible’s most prolific author, referred to himself as ‘a fool’ (2 Cor. 12:11). He also called himself ‘the least of the apostles’ (1 Cor. 15:9). Five years later he claimed to be ‘less than the least of all the saints’ (Eph. 3:8). In one of his final epistles, he referred to himself as the ‘chief ‘ of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). As he grew older, his ego grew smaller. King David wrote no psalm celebrating his victory over Goliath. But he wrote a public poem of penitence confessing his sin with Bathsheba (see Ps. 51).”
“And then there is Joseph. The quiet father of Jesus. Rather than make a name for himself, he made a home for Christ. And because he did, a great reward came his way. ‘He called His name JESUS’ (Matt. 1:25).”
Here is the key. Max says, “One can’t, at once, promote two reputations. Promote God’s and forget yours. Or promote yours and forget God’s. We must choose.”
He then says, “God grants us an uncommon life to the degree we surrender our common one. ‘If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life (Matt. 16:25 NLT).”
So which is the reputation we will promote?