Summary: God wants us to make the most of every oportunity to give him credit and to serve our fellow man.
In 1985, in only his second season in the NFL, Dan Marino made it to the Superbowl. Despite throwing for over three hundred yards and a touchdown, Marino’s Miami Dolphins lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 34-16. Marino felt bad, but he wasn’t devastated. He was one of the most promising talents in the NFL. He had made it to the Superbowl in only his second season. Surely he would be back. Dan Marino retired in 1999. He holds just about every record imaginable for a quarterback, but he never made it back to the Superbowl. Even today he says that if he would have realized that 1985 was going to be his only Superbowl, he would have appreciated it more. He would have made the most of that opportunity.
We all have opportunities that we’ve missed in our lives. Opportunities in school, at work, in love. Just like Dan Marino, we don’t always make the most of every opportunity. Well, this morning we are going to see that God gives us many opportunities to serve him and our fellow man and that he wants us to make the most of every opportunity. So let’s take a look at those opportunities as Paul lays them out for us in Galatians chapter 6:1-10;14-16...
I. To give credit where credit is due (3-5,14-16)
Since I’ve already brought up the subject of sports this morning, I’ve got a question for you. In professional sports today, how do most players react when they score or do something good? They celebrate, but they do even more than that. They go crazy. They pound themselves in the chest. They dance. They say, “Look at me. Look what I’ve done. I’m number one.” We all have that in us, don’t we? That desire to hear praise from others, to hear them say that we are good, smart, funny, or good looking. We like to feel better than other people. And there’s a word for that. It’s pride.
In just a few minutes we are going to talk about how God wants us to lovingly correct our brothers and sisters in the faith when they do something wrong. But he wants us to do it humbly. You know, it’s so easy when we see somebody else fall into a sin to think that we are going to help them because we are so good, because we would never fall into that kind of sin. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of condescension. To want to correct our brothers and sisters not as brothers and sisters, but condescendingly as little children.
Paul, however, here in our text for this morning reminds us how to keep that pride in check. He tells us: “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.” God doesn’t want us comparing ourselves with other people. He wants us to take an honest look at ourselves in the mirror. And if we find something to be proud of in what we have done, well, fine. But there is a problem, however. When I look at myself honestly in the mirror, when I test my own actions, what I have done in my life, I see that I don’t have anything to be proud of. I have years of not looking out for other people. Years of jealousy. Years of angry words and sinful thoughts. When I look in the mirror, I see a dirty, undeserving sinner. I have no reason to feel superior to a fellow Christian who falls into a sin, because I daily fall into my own.
But I can take pride in something. Paul tells us: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We can take pride in Jesus. He’s number one and we’re on his team. Through his cross, my sins of pride and jealousy have been washed clean. I can look in the mirror and see a perfect child of God. I can test my actions which have been washed clean in Jesus blood and take pride in that. As verse 16 says, we have been given peace, peace with God and peace of mind. We have been shown mercy.
So let’s make the most of every opportunity to give credit where credit is due. It seems that just about every week there is a different award’s show on TV. Be it for movies, music, or videos... you name it, there’s an award show for it. Now, when I watch those shows I always listen to see whom the winners thank. And it makes me feel good to hear that even today, some still give credit where credit is do, by thanking God first.