On Being Special

Pride feeds on special. It’s hard to be special and humble at the same time. I once read that many ministers survive the big three temptations (lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life), only to be dashed to pieces on the merciless shores of… success. Does success make one seem special?

Special is dangerous, because our human nature erroneously interprets a special calling, gift, talent, or purpose as… I am special. In fact, none of us are special insofar as it means better than someone else.

Isn’t this where the Jewish people stumbled? On being special? God chose them to be used for a purpose (technically He chose Abram and his offspring, but that’s another story). And rather than considering the awesome responsibility of being chosen, they fell into the common error of thinking it was about them; that their chosen-ness was actually about them being special. They ended up so infatuated with their own specialness that even the first Apostles were shocked to learn of gentile inclusion in the gift of salvation! How could it be possible, they wondered, that gentiles could be included?

I believe it is better for us to keep special at arms length. And that a helpful way of doing this is by viewing our calling, anointing, talents, status, or achievements in the light of stewardship. To remember that all good things come from above… not from us (James 1:17). To agree with Paul that whatever good things we possess were received, and as such we no reason to boast (1Cor 4:7). To remember that I will one day be called upon to render an account for all that I have received, been entrusted with, chosen for, and equipped for.

Knowing that I will one day be called to account for my faithfulness as a steward of what God has entrusted me with, helps keep me on my toes, and off my high horse.

Christians beware. We are not special. Jesus is. He alone is our boast.

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