When Does Preaching Turn into Pridefulness?

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I have been honored to be asked to give the Shabbat message many times. When I was living in Philadelphia and attending a Messianic Synagogue, for many years I was on the Council and also served as the “Rabbi-pro-tem” until we could find a full-time Rabbi. I am not ordained or certified as a Rabbi, but for a year and a half we were looking for one and during that time I led the liturgy and generally gave the message.

Every time I have been asked to give the message or to join the Council I think to myself: is this right? I know I have an ego that wants to be “fed”, as I think most everyone does, and I am always afraid that I will allow the ego to take over the humility. 

As a United States Marine, one of our mottos is, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re the best.” And the Marine Corps history proves that boast to be valid.

I also have been blessed with many talents that God has given me, and it is so important to me to remember that these talents are things I was given.

So I constantly ask myself, at what point do I stop being humbled and honored to lead and begin to expect it, as if I deserve it? I ask because if that point ever comes, I am no longer doing God’s work, but my own. 

This is a lesson we all need to understand: when we do something wonderful and edifying, it is the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh working through us to accomplish God’s good. When we screw something up, that’s the time we can take full credit.

So this is a short and simple lesson that I am still struggling with:

Positions of authority can turn into problems with pridefulness before you even know it is happening. 

If you are in a position of authority, whether it is corporate, religious or social, remember what James said regarding teachers (James 3:1):

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

There are many Bible passages that talk about pride and humility, how God will raise up the humble and bring down the prideful. It is in Proverbs and throughout the Gospels. I could quote chapter and verse, but I suspect that most everyone reading or hearing this message already knows what I am talking about. I doubt that there is anyone on earth who has not suffered the problems that pride has caused in their life.

I believe that pride is the mother of all sins.

My final admonition to you is to remain humble, and the easiest way to do that is to remember that whatever talent or gift you have was given to you. Yes, you may have developed it and you may be using it well, but it is not something you gave to yourself- it was given to you by God.

And God expects…no!- He demands– that you use it in his service and for his glory. 

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