In the middle of our dance recital rehearsal, four-year-old Annie runs up to me shouting, “Miss Felicia, look at me! Look at me!”
She does a series of ballet (and ballet-inspired) steps right in front of me, blocking my view of the other little dancers in the class. Then, ending her self-appointed solo, she smiles and asks, “Did you see me? Did I dance beautiful?”
I have to admit, it’s adorable when she does this. But it’s also frustrating. When Annie shouts, “Look at me!” while standing directly in front of me, it’s hard to concentrate on the bigger picture and see what the dance truly looks like.
The funny thing is, we often behave just like Annie!
No, we’re not twirling in front of people and clamoring for attention, but we block people from taking in the bigger picture. We block people’s view of God because they see too much of us.
We want people to notice us and all the good things we do. We want people to think we’re smart and kind. We want people to think we have a great personality. We want people to think we’re thoughtful and sacrificial.
Ultimately, we say we do these things because we want to point people to Christ. The Bible says “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father,” right? (Matthew 5:16, NLT).
But now I wonder: is our shining before men to point them to God really just a pretense? Is that truly our main concern? Or are we more concerned about making people notice us so we can feel good about ourselves?
Could my “good deeds” actually be keeping people from Christ?
Oswald Chambers writes, “Goodness and purity should never be traits that draw attention to themselves, but should simply be magnets that draw people to Jesus Christ…A person who is a beautiful saint can be a hindrance in leading people to the Lord by presenting only what Christ has done for him, instead of presenting Christ Himself.” People will think, “Wow, that person is so great!” instead of “Wow, God is so great in that person’s life.” (My Utmost for His Highest)
Are we so obsessed with showing others our goodness, that we keep them from glimpsing God’s goodness? Just as Annie’s solo didn’t allow me to appreciate the big picture of the choreography, we keep people from grasping the big picture of God’s goodness!
A Christian woman from Holland, Corrie ten Boom, rescued Jews during World War II. The Nazi’s ended up discovering that she was hiding Jews in her house and sent her and her family to a concentration camp. Although most of Corrie’s family perished, she survived the camp and went on to write several books and tour the world speaking about Christ. Yet despite her international fame, this tremendous woman of God always stayed humble. In fact, she instructed her personal assistant, “Tell me if the people see too much of me. Corrie ten boom must be behind the cross” (Five Years of Silence).
Are you twirling in front of the cross, or are you behind it?