Rest on Your Laurels

… means to be satisfied with one’s achievement, by implication enough so as not to expend further effort. Wikipedia: wise one of the earth says, “The term, dating from the mid-nineteenth century, alludes to the wreaths of laurel leaves use to crown the winner of athletic contests in ancient Greek and Roman times; the laurel today remains a symbol of victory.”

Still boasting about something God used you for?

Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth;  but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 NRSV

Some have made mission trips and saw the Lord move mightily and use them in significant ways. May all glory go to God. Some have never traveled far at all, yet the Lord often uses them frequently in the local store.

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NRSV

Matilda Kipfer said she was a simple woman, not wise. Being foolish by the standards of the world was fine by her because the Lord chose what is foolish to confound the wise.

Seems to me there was an image like this in my childhood Bible

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus (blessed be he forever!) knows that I do not lie.  In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me,  but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands. It is necessary to boast; nothing is to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 11:30 – 2 Corinthians 12:1

Most humans do not want to be seen as weak. Yet Paul tells us how he was lowered in a basket to escape a king who wanted to seize Paul. The Bible says it is better to be weak and a fool than to follow after things of the world. Let God be seen as strong and mighty, even at your own expense.

Did God do something mighty through your service? If so, we must remember we were God’s tool just as Balaam’s donkey was God’s tool. Numbers 22 tells the story of how Balaam was known as a professional prophet who traveled about and cursed military enemies for money. He was a seer for hire. His only power was words to put curses on others. (Isn’t the Bible full of interesting characters?) His donkey saved his life three times when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord blocking the path with a drawn sword. How do we know this? The third time it happened as Balaam beat his donkey with anger and the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth to speak!

Numbers 22:21-35 Donkey saves Balaam’s Life

Being corrected and saved by a donkey has to bring humility I would think. In the end of the story God had victory over the evil troops. No curses were allowed.

So what now? Give thanks for the ways God has used you in the past. What have you done recently with God? Have you found where He is working and joined His project? Or are you still telling others what He did long ago and far away? Has your laurel wreath withered and become only an old story? Do you know Jesus and have you talked with Him today? What are your marching orders from Him? Are you walking in obedience to His orders?

I hope you are not sitting on your laurels and letting the Kingdom work fall to others. “Let those who boast boast that they understand and know Me.” “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” The Lord wants it known that He acts with steadfast love, justice and righteousness on the earth. Have you shared that message? As we gain a deeper understanding of Him let’s spread that knowledge every place we go. Perhaps He will use us to His glory! Meanwhile, let your laurels bloom and move on.

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