By SOPHIE DRUFFNER
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
I sat back and stared at the words on the screen. A giddy feeling was spreading quickly from my heart as I jumped up and down. I had done it! Finally, I had achieved something. I was something. A college admissions counselor had said “Yes, we want her.”
Writing the essays which forced me to stay up for hours, editing those same essays under the watchful eyes of my English teacher, watching people read them with fear in my heart, studying for the SATs and then the SAT IIs, producing videos for various interviews and flying up for other events, was exhausting. I began the process last May and I am still not quite finished, not quite decided on where I will be attending next year. After applications to eleven colleges, two SAT tests, two SAT II tests, additional applications for scholarships, phone interviews, interviews I initiatied with members of different colleges, exhausting scholarship weekends and other such things, it’s understandable that I began screaming “I did it! I did it!!” when the voice on the phone said “We would like to extend our scholarship to you” or the email appeared in my inbox.
But it’s really easy to “glorify yourself.” We all want to claim credit for the work that we do and the long hours that we have spent at a lonely desk typing, calling, studying. When a boss gives us a good review or we finally break 2000 on the SAT, it’s really easy to sit back and say “Yep, that was all me. Go me!!!” I can just imagine God sitting up there and rolling his eyes at our naivete. Of course we did it, but he helped us a lot. It was He who gave us the intelligence, the grit, and the faith to believe that we could accomplish an arduous task. It was He who inspired us to keep working in the face of a clock who just keeped ticking, when our eyes began to blur from the glow of the computer screen. It was He who helped us reach success.
In the Gospel, Jesus says that if you glorify yourself, it’s temporary. But if you wait, God will glorify you, which will be better than any amount of “Congratulations” you can receive on Earth. Because He helped you, He’s proud of you too, and he wants to be the happiest you can be, because he created you to be happy.
So whenever you’re tempted to take all the credit, give God a little credit too. Thank God when you receive that promotion. Don’t just say the words “Thank God,” instead, say “Thank you, God.” Editing the phrase that has become nearly meaningless by adding a simple “you” is so much more personal, and because God is the Father of us all, he knows you more personally than anyone, including yourself, on Earth. He can see into the depths of your heart and all he wants is the best for you, which He alone knows.