Indeed, since that day I am he; there is no one who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can hinder it? Isaiah 43:13 

So let no one boast about people. For all things are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

1 Corinthians 3:21, 23

Boasting, self-praise and congratulating yourself – maybe on your own accomplishments, maybe in your child’s or another person. We see this all the time in sports. Some athletes seem to spend more time congratulating themselves than actually playing the game. Some gloat about how much greater they are than even their own teammates. On the other hand, there are those who  acknowledge that it is not just their own effort, but the work of a team. Coaches, their teammates, all working together to achieve a win.

Paul admonishes the Corinthians to not boast about their human leaders and teachers. Apparently  were people who followed various teachers were pridefully claiming that they had the best teacher, that their group was superior to others. That it was their choosing the best teacher that made them better people. In verse 22 Paul lists a variety of teachers that are each claimed as THE teacher to follow. We are not to trust in other people, rather to remember that all we have comes from God. We are created beings, saved by the grace of God through Christ. 

Isaiah also tells of the power and superiority of God over human endeavors. Another translation adds “from eternity to eternity, I am God” adding that no one can separate God and His people. For all their boasting, humans cannot hinder the work of God. Even when Israel was in Babylon, God was still there, faithful to the promise of their return to the land they were promised. The exiles returned home. Not by their own actions, but by the action of an all-powerful God.

O Lord our Lord, how long will we insist on finding meaning and purpose in the things of this world? Keep us from being caught up with fading idols and earthly treasures. Move us, we ask, to break out of our struggles and simply turn to your son Jesus, listening to the one who is the way, the truth, and the life. In his name, we pray. Amen.

Chris Gabel