My Pastor Got It Wrong - Don’t Forget the Giants That Lifted You Higher

By Vytas | There Is Encouragement | 25 Jun 2021

Someone at our church was giving praise for the last year's interns. They said it was the best group since the start of the ministry.

I was one of them. My pastor looked at me and made a joke that it meant their generation was worse. Although it was almost a compliment, it didn’t land in my heart well.

Soon after the comment, God told me the truth.

I’ve gone far because someone else went before me and made the way.

The back of a pioneer carries a heavy load

I’m the first one in my family to move abroad. My parents were anxious and had doubts I would be alright in a strange land. After a couple of years, I proved I could take care of myself even in a foreign culture.

When my brother chose to study abroad, my parents didn’t think much about it. If their oldest son made it, the younger could make it as well. A couple of years ago emigration was a scary innovation, but now it was a normal way of life.

It’s hard to be a pioneer. It’s the stage where support is minimal. Pioneers don’t have examples they can lean on. They swing their machetes through the jungle and make a small opening for the next step. They repeat the slow process over and over again until the path becomes clear. Bruises on the body, sweat and lack of strength are the price pioneers pay in making the way.

Everyone who goes after them seems to move like a high-speed train! Is the second person more skillful in moving through the jungle? Are they better than the pioneer who made the way? No. They progress quicker because the way is already made.

We owe our success to the people who came before us.

Surpassing the teachers is normal

The idea that teachers are forever better than their students is destructive. If the world moved in this downward spiral we would be approaching a stone age, not a technological advancement era.

The improvement happens in steps. Teachers are the ones who help their students to move a step higher. Jesus wanted His followers to surpass Him.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12, ESV)

Jesus declares, “I’ve got to go home, but from now on you’ll be doing what I did and more.” He didn’t say, “Sorry guys, but you will never be able to do more than I did.”

Peter probably sat there with an empty look, not being able to imagine anything greater coming through his hands. Although a couple of months later his shadow was healing people (Acts 5:15). It was never recorded that Jesus healed using His shadow.

Later, Paul jumped into the game. He didn’t walk with Jesus, but God did extraordinary miracles through his hands (Acts 19:11).

Wait a moment! Did Luke call healing the lepers and raising the dead “ordinary miracles”?

The house of the Lord

The highest point the teacher reaches is the ground for their students. It's very tricky to build a house if you start from the roof.

Paul’s statement about his ministry always leaves me in awe:

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. (1 Corinthians 3:10, ESV)

Paul was busy with the basics. He wasn’t building the roof but the foundation in order that believers after him could build it higher. Paul admitted that he hadn’t attained the fullness of knowing Jesus (Philippians 3:12). Everything he did was to create a better chance for his followers to reach the fullness (Colossians 1:28–29).

Jesus also takes a humble position as a cornerstone (Acts 4:11). He’s the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). He’s the first spark that started a huge fire, which we call Christianity.

I surpassed my parents in many areas. I don’t mean this in a boastful way because they gave me the foundation. My parents made sure I had the opportunities they didn’t. In the same way, when I have children I want to see them achieve more than me.

It’s easy to praise the cook for a nice meal and forget the hunter who had a sleepless night outside hunting for the meat.

My pastor got it wrong

Being one of “the greater” interns doesn’t mean that I’m praiseworthy. It means that someone went before me and carried a heavier load to prepare the way. My pastor got it wrong because they’re responsible for my success. I’m higher because I stand on their shoulders.

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Follower of Christ, disciple-maker, a missionary and a thinker. I write to make people think and to empower them to have a better life. Sign up for the newsletter:

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