I was still new in my faith, and that morning, I sat like a firework in the front pew. My heart was eager, ignitable.
Our church had a guest speaker, and I hung on every word, as if I were hearing the gospel for the first time. His fiery words were like a match on my spiritual fuse.
After the service ended, I weaved through the crowds to tell the speaker how his words had moved me.
I had barely uttered the words, “thank you,” when he began to vigorously shake his head at me.
“You shouldn’t be thanking me,” he said, jabbing his index finger heavenward. “You should be thanking God.”
It felt like a rebuke. I walked away embarrassed—and a lot less firework-ish.
For a long time, that encounter with a respected Christian leader shaped my thinking on how Christians should handle affirmation from others. I brushed off praise for my accomplishments in the workplace, and I rarely knew what to say when people praised my work on the church worship committee.
I became allergic to compliments.
I know a lot of Christians who feel the same way. They are worried that if they accept praise, they are stealing God’s glory and his spotlight. But like me, they agree that it feels awkward—if not unkind—to wave off praise and point to heaven, as if to say, “Don’t thank me; thank God.”
To be sure, the Apostle Paul wrote to the people of Corinth: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
But that doesn’t mean we have to duck from kind words. We aren’t stealing God’s glory if we offer a simple “thank you” when someone compliments our performance at the office, our frosted cookies at the bake sale, or our song at the worship service. Our lives exist inside of Christ, and Christ exists inside of us. What comes out in his name is a product of what God designed us to do.
True humility doesn’t mean we wave off affirmation. God put gifts at work inside of us. True humility is genuine “thanks,” delivered with grace.
Today, in your work, remember that you are free to shine for Jesus. Because of Jesus. Your life as a faithful, working Christian is a “boast in the Lord.” All glory goes to your Maker because he’s the author of every good endeavor. When someone praises you for the gifts that God has graciously given to you, a great response includes a smile and two simple words: “Thank you.”
How to Take a Compliment
1. Simply Say Thanks:
Your first reaction may be to deflect. “It was nothing.” “Anyone could have done it.” But instead of deflecting, offer a simple “Thank you!” It shows that you appreciate the thoughtfulness of the person offering kind words toward you.
2. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due: Often, the work done was a team effort, such as a project at work. If that’s the case, try something like: “Thank you! I was glad to be a part of the project. And I’ll be sure to pass on your kind words to Kendra and Annie, who helped put the project together.”
3. Pay it Forward: So often, people withhold compliments because they assume that the other person knows how much they are appreciated. Today, let’s go out of our way to tell someone they’ve done a stellar job! How? Send a card. Shoot off a text. Write a short Amazon review for that new author who just released her book. (I remember how much that meant to me!)
4. Thank God for The Gifts He Has Given You: Our family knows a pediatric heart surgeon whose work requires precision with his hands. So, every morning, that surgeon looks at his hands and prays this prayer: “Thank you, God, for giving me these hands so I can make a difference today.”
What gifts has God given you that give him glory? Do you feel like you’re stealing God’s praise if you say “thank you” when offered praise for those gifts? Can you identify Christians in your life who graciously accept praise, without stealing glory from God?
Dear Lord, in your grace, you have given each of us different gifts to do things well for your glory. Help us to remember that because you live within us, our use of those gifts automatically brings you glory. Help us to remember that we don’t have to perform spiritual acrobatics to “boast in the Lord.” We pray this in your name and for your glory. Amen.
Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Linda Perkins. With the recent flooding in Houston, Linda’s words about the floods that come in our lives are especially relevant and encouraging. Find Linda here. To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. 🙂 xo Jennifer