Gen 41:16 "So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, 'It is not in me. God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.'"
Finally! The chief butler woke up and remembered the guy who helped him. Pharaoh had two disturbing dreams and he wanted to know what they meant. The chief butler apologetically came to him and said "I screwed up. I should have told you this before, but there a Hebrew guy in prison who can do this…". When Pharaoh summoned Joseph he said: "I have heard that you can understand and interpret dreams." This is the cool part…Joseph's response: "Not in me, God." Joseph knew. This was not him. He was not able to do this. He was not the guy with the smarts. It was all God. Any credit, any acknowledgement, any glory was not to go to the instrument that God used but instead it was all to go to God..
This has to be the way it is in my life. Really, I am incapable of doing anything eternal. I am incapable of doing anything that lasts. I am incapable of doing anything that has any real meaning…without God. Sure, I can try to pull off some pretty cool things. I can try to win cases, or influence people, or teach or lead on my own, but without God, it is empty. It is meaningless. It is all self serving. Right now I am preparing for a sermon that I get to preach in two weeks. I am pretty pumped about it, but I know that if it is not God who is controlling the words, if it is not God who is directing the thoughts, if it is not God who is communicating through me, then I am just blowing smoke.
I also know that God has been gracious enough to give us some pretty talented people at Lake Ridge Church. I am privileged to be able to be a part of a worship team that really is pretty good. Many times we have people come up to us after the service and say: "You guys rocked (Dan Sanzo)"; or "That was awesome" (Randy Whitely); or "What great music" (whoever). Our response, my response should always be what Joseph said: "Not in me, God." We did not create this talent. We did not give these gifts. We did not form these abilities…God did. It is God who is working. It is God who is moving. When we start taking credit, when we start grabbing glory then we need to stop. May this never happen. May we always, always, always point people to the One who is merciful and gracious enough to allow us to do what we do…but we do it only for His glory not ours.
And this should be true anytime we see God at work. He is doing some pretty amazing things around us and the attention needs to be placed on Him.
I remember the first sermon that our Pastor ever preached in our church. The title was: "It is the Lord"…and it is. It could have been: "Not in me, God". This must always be our perspective. To God alone be the glory, praise and credit...forever.