Sometimes It Is OK to Brag

Am I the kind of christian that a preacher can brag about?” We’re too humble and modest to aspire to that.  It almost seems wrong to even ask the question, much less should we make it a goal.  After all, shouldn’t any glory, recognition, or praise go directly to God (Matthew 4:16)?  We’ve been taught our whole lives that to seek praise is the vain pursuit of someone caught up in his own ego.  Those who do good deeds in order to be seen by men get the praise of men, but it’s the only reward they can expect (Matthew 6:2-5).  That very attitude is contrary to humbleness and humility.  And isn’t it those who are humble that will be given grace and exalted? (James 4:6,10)?

Yes it is wrong to vainly seek praise.  But it’s not wrong to want others to notice that one has done something good.  In his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul took some time to let them know that he had been bragging on them.  He had urged his companion Titus to go to them, boasting of their hospitality. They did not disappoint when Titus arrived.  Paul was delighted with the way they received him.  He wrote “For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true (2 Co 7:14).”  He also said, “I rejoice, because I have perfect confidence in you” (v. 16).  It was Paul’s way of complementing them on a job well done.

In chapters 8 and 9 he would go on to tell them he had been bragging to the Macedonian christians about how generous they were in their desire to send a special gift to christians suffering from famine in Jerusalem.  This bragging had stirred up the desire of those Macedonian christians to make a contribution as well.  Paul urged them to finish collecting this gift so he wouldn’t be proved wrong in his bragging on them.  He did not want himself and the Corinthians to be shamed because they didn’t follow up on their commitment (2 Co. 9:1-4).  Paul said that ultimately, if they lived up to his boasting, that it would be God who was glorified (v. 13).

The big idea is that it’s important to take pride in service we offer to God.  This pride is not in our self-promotion, but in knowing we have done something good for God.  Even more important, if we’re consistent in our good works it is God who gets the credit!  He gets the credit because he is the one who gave us the talents we use to serve.  He gets the credit because others see our faith in him is genuine when we practice what we preach.

So take pride in your service.  Be the best christian you can be.  Do it for Christ and his church.  Let’s be the kind of christians that can be bragged about!