Saturday, March 08, 2008

Pygmalion's Presumption - Confidence in Ministers

I watched My Fair Lady the other night. Toward the end of the movie, Eliza Dolittle returns and observes that Henry Higgins treats her like a flower girl (in this context a street urchin) and Colonel Pickering treats her like a lady. She demonstrated Henry's success in her attitude and resolve and Henry demonstrated his childish demeanor in his attempt at superiority.

Henry Higgins was clearly the master of his household and highly respected in the community despite his childish arrogance. He was capable of doing many great things as a result of others' perception of him.

Eliza was a remarkable demonstration of his capabilities. Eliza herself could pull off community respect because of what Henry had done for her. However, she had nothing but mere behavior to back it up. The behavior was enough to fool other people, but her background was that of a mere flower peddler on the streets. On some level some respectability was given with the attempt to straighten her father out, but she didn't have the upbringing of the noblewoman she had been taught to behave like. Nevertheless, even in her low upbringing there was a certain nobility of character that was evident when she learned the etiquette to express her noble intentions within a proper social context.

Do we see ministers who are effective yet not mature Christians? They appear mature because they socialize well. Do we see mature Christians who are not effective ministers because they do not socialize well? (After all, Henry expected Eliza to yet be his servant.) Often the difference has to do with the difficulty of sanctification. The wise are often given wisdom because of the wealth of foolish things they have done. They have often run headlong into the walls of the dark room of this world and have a good idea the size and aspect of the room. A fool stands where he is and declares confidently that he is in the center of the room without having found the walls. He attracts a crowd of believers yet remains a fool.

The confidence of the fool is in himself even if he believes otherwise. The confidence of the wise is in the one who has forgiven him. Too many people are attracted to self-confidence. Eliza had no confidence in herself. She was taught merely to behave confidently; her confidence was in Henry's teaching. Henry had no confidence in Eliza. Henry had every confidence in himself - because others had confidence in him. Eliza learned some self-confidence when others had confidence in her.

To my fellow Christians:
In whom do you have confidence? Is your confidence in the Lord? Do you build up ministers in Christ by having confidence in the Lord's ability to minister through them? If you seek to build up a minister, are you looking for someone who is already a minister or someone who could be if only confidence was placed in them? Do they lack confidence in themselves yet have every confidence in the Lord?

What is your place in building up the church?

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