Give Credit Where Credit is Due
History is repeating itself…again. And no, I’m not referring to the Spanish Flu of 1918 and COVID-19. I’m talking about giving credit where credit is due.
On December 2, 2015, a terrorist attack in San Bernardino killed 14 people and seriously injured 22 others. Several public figures responded with variations of “Our prayers are with the victims and their families.” The next day, the Daily News, a newspaper serving the New York City area, published the derisive front-page headline, “God Isn’t Fixing This.”
If you’ve been listening to news reports this week, that headline might sound familiar. Because this past week in a press conference, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to a question about plateauing COVID-19 numbers by saying:
“The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. … A lot of pain and suffering did that.”
It’s difficult enough for Christians to wrap their minds around the concept of God’s sovereignty. So I recognize how someone who is not a Christ-follower would struggle with understanding the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s actions.
For those who also struggle with this relationship, consider the following verse:
“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth …” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18 NIV).
Is Governor Cuomo right? When we pray to ask God for His intervention and then thank Him for the results, are we giving God credit for our efforts? Or is the answer that the governor fails to understand God chooses to work through people more often than He chooses to suspend the laws of nature to create miracles?
Then there’s the added issue of worship …
Worthy of Worship
If God does work through people, why should He get the credit for what people do? And if He commands worship and praise, does that make Him egotistical? Why would anyone worship an egotist?
The answer is found in one word. Worthy. God is worthy of our worship and praise. We read in Revelation:
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11 NIV).
God is not egotistical because He is perfect. His perfection makes Him worthy of worship and praise. But this is only half the answer.
The second half is that no one else is worthy.
If you or I required the praise and worship of others, it would indeed be a self-centered and egotistical request. Apart from a restored relationship with God in Christ, you and I are broken. Flawed. We’re a collection of hot messes.
No one else is worthy of worship and praise. Only God. Because of who He is:
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
The Creator of all that is seen and unseen.
Redeemer of what once was lost.
The One who keeps, encourages, and equips His people.
Created to Worship
Not only is worshiping God reasonable, it’s necessary.
We were created to worship. If God is not the object of our worship, we’ll end up worshiping something or someone else. We’re drawn to worship. If not God, then we find a substitute. We make athletes, musicians, actors, even pastors, into celebrities. Then we worship at their altars.
And if we can’t find a celebrity to worship, we worship ourselves. We praise our own efforts and demand that life bend to our own convenience. We want the world to revolve around us.
Because He created us, God knows that for us to worship anything or anyone other than God Himself will mean our destruction.
As Jesus said, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21 NIV). This includes more than just money. It includes who we choose to praise, worship, and thank. And it includes the need to give credit where credit is due …. in everything.