READING: Ruth 1-2, Acts 3
As I look back across my ministry, I cringe to think about exhibitions of my ego – either those that were public displays or those that were private inclinations. I started serving as a pastor at age 20, and it was far too easy to think I was significant because my church was growing and folks were learning my name. And, I’d be lying if I said I never wrestled with pride today. Ego seemingly sits on our shoulder, no matter how old we get.
Then, I read today’s story about Peter and John healing the lame man. This man had been lame for over 40 years (Acts 4:22). Someone carried him to the temple each day so he could beg for money—which is what he first requested from the apostles. They had no money, but what they did have was something much greater: healing in the name of Jesus. The man born lame was suddenly walking and leaping, praising God throughout the temple. The people, astonished at what they were seeing, apparently ran toward Peter and John. It’s Peter’s response, then, that gives me cause to examine my heart today: “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us, as though we had made him walk by our own power or godliness?” (Acts 3:12).
I can’t help but wonder how easy it might have been for Peter and John to claim some of the glory for the miracle. It’s just fallen human nature to lean into adulation when the crowds rivet their attention toward you, and I suspect pastors can be uniquely vulnerable to this trap. Peter knew better, though. He knew he was still among the apostles only because of God’s grace, and he knew any miracle he performed was the work of God. All he could do was point to Jesus.
That’s a good move for all of us: deflect attention from ourselves and turn hearts toward Him.
PRAYER: “God, help me when my heart seeks the praise of others.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Ruth 3-4, Psalm 37, Acts 4