One of my favorite professors during my time at Dallas Theological Seminary was Howard Hendricks. “Prof Hendricks” (as he was affectionately known) was a walking/talking quote machine with his perspectives on life, ministry, leadership, and creativity word-smithed into memorable phrases.
One comment I often heard Prof say related to the time after the sermon each Sunday, when (in prior generations) Pastors would often stand by the door to shake the hands of congregants as they exited the sanctuary. The predictable string of “Thank you Pastors” could have a tendency to inflate the ego of the Minister, so Hendricks wanted his students (who might stand in a line like that at some point in their future) to keep things in a proper perspective. Prof humorously called those compliment lines “the Glorification of the Worm.” What did he mean by that?
Well, when a fisherman goes out to fish, he baits his hook with a worm. When a big catch follows, right thinking people don’t celebrate the worm, they compliment the fisherman! Hendricks point is clear: in ministry, we are the worm, and HE is the Fisherman! When something “catches,” He is the One who is to be praised.
I have long remembered this and contemplate it after events when I have the privilege of speaking. It helps to keep things in proper perspective.
I was thinking about this today pertaining to Revelation 19:10 … a verse I read this morning, but did not reference in my sermon. It says, “Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.’ For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
After an Angel instructs the Apostle John about the upcoming “marriage of the Lamb,” John responds by falling down and worshipping the Angel! The Angel REJECTS this action, reminding John that the Angel is not the One to be celebrated here, but it is God Himself (and God only) that is worthy of our worship. The Angel’s words and prophecy simply point to the One who is to be responsible for this remarkable work.
Like John, we are often overcome with the encouragement received from other Christians. Whether it is a Christian musician that has blessed us with song, an author who has painted vivid pictures with words, a Pastor we love to stream on a podcast or hear preach on a Sunday, or small group or ministry leaders who have made a big impact in our lives … we too are tempted to hear a great message, and then praise the messenger.
While it is good and right for us to express our appreciation to those God uses to bless us, we should also save the true worship and praise for the One who was doing the “fishing” all along. We thank each other … but we worship God.
Just wanted to share this additional thought with you from our study of Revelation 19:1-10 this morning. Join us next weekend at Wildwood (in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 services) as we will look at Revelation 19:11-21 and see THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST! Can’t wait.