When I was in sixth grade, we had a family tree assignment. Most everybody in the class turned in a short write up with pictures of their parents and grandparents. Not me.
My dad caught wind of this assignment and decided to help me. And by help, I mean, do about 95% of the project. What I turned in was a huge posterboard with photos going back three generations with color-coded maps of where my ancestors came from going back to the 1500s.
I walked into class and said “Look what I did.” But in reality I didn’t do much, but had a very capable dad.
Remember our discipleship lesson this week:
A disciple’s greatest danger is spiritual pride.
Spiritual pride is spiritual plagiarism. It’s taking credit for something Someone else has done.
In Luke 10, Jesus gives a pep talk to 72 disciples before sending them on a mission to heal the sick and proclaim the Kingdom. Now they’ve returned and they’re first words to Jesus are, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”
Sounds kinda like me and my family tree project: “Look what I did!” It’s a little absurd when you think about it. It’s as absurd as Albert Pujols’ bat saying, “I hit a lot of home runs,” or Jack White’s guitar saying, “Dude, I rock!” or Ansel Adams’ camera saying, “My photos are awesome.” Absurb as the questions in Isaiah 10:15.
Everywhere Jesus goes, the pattern of reality ripples–the sick are healed, the blind can see, the dead come back to life, people remember the Father. And so these disciples of Jesus do what he says, they’re obedient, and then they’re shocked that the chaos of the world falls in order wherever they go.
When you do what Jesus asks you to do, you shouldn’t be surprised when Kingdom stuff happens.
Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t scold them. When I read his response, I hear a playfully exasperated “Kids say the darndest thing” tone in his voice.
Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
What about you? Have you ever taken credit for something you didn’t do? What happened?