The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'This isn't about you'

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Last summer my cousin got married. Growing up, she was the kind of girl who was convinced she was going to be a princess, the kind of girl who chose the name “Rainbow Crystal Rose Sparkle” every time we played house. She wore heels to high school and her prom dress was a floor length, white beaded gown with a train.

So you can imagine why my family started playfully referring to this as “the wedding of the century.” Since she and her husband go to Pepperdine, their wedding was on a hill in Malibu overlooking the ocean. Her family drove to California from their house in Houston with a U-Haul full of beautiful antique decorations for the venue, including multiple vintage suitcases and a typewriter. The bulletins for the ceremony were hand sewn … yes, that’s right, sewn. And they somehow rigged up a chandelier at the head table for the outdoor reception.

To say the least, it was a beautiful ceremony and a lot of work. So when the pastor began the sermon by looking directly at the bride and groom and telling them “Today isn’t about you,” all I could think was “uh, awkward.” He obviously hadn’t watched Bridezillas, Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings or any other show on TLC for that matter. Otherwise he would have known that it was definitely about them, or her at least.

Or is it? As Christians we are called to recognize that God has a purpose and plan for our lives. Therefore, everything that happens to us is by the grace of God — for example, finding someone who is so great you want to share the rest of your life with him or her.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in ourselves. Every day we say things, aloud or in our heads, like “Oh, I did so well on that test” or “Wow, I look hot today” or “I can bench press …” (I don’t know ... however much is impressive to bench press). Or even, “Man, I gave such a good devotion tonight.”

It’s so easy to forget that it’s not about us. We should not be living our lives as a celebration of ourselves but as a celebration of God and what — by God’s grace — we’ve been given. Whether it’s beautiful hair, a great sense of humor, brains, musical talent, muscles, being a good listener or whatever other countless gifts that God bestows, those gifts somehow fit into God’s plan, not our own.

So this week, when you start hearing “I” and “me” in your head, remember that this isn’t about you. And be thankful for whatever wonderful gift God has given you.


Robert Burke

Robert Burke

Posted at 1:22 pm (U.S. Eastern) 2/7/2012

Absolutely!  A year or so ago, I attended the ordination of a young man.  The homily was preached by Lowell Ahlmen, former Secretary of the ELCA.  Early on in his homily, Pr Ahlmen looked at the candidate for ordination and said, "Luke, today is not about you.  Today is about Christ and Christ's Church."

I'll never forget those words. 

Christina is right on target.  Thanks!

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