Another Insight from Compost: Credit Where Credit is Due
I felt real satisfaction as I was moving that compost pile. As previously discussed, it turned out well. At first I was patting myself on the back, but that was a bit much. I hadn’t invented composting; it is the result of natural processes that God gave us and others figured out how to use. I simply followed their instructions. On the other hand, we put a lot of work, and maybe some skill, into the process: we gathered the materials, prepped, mixed, and turned them, protected the pile from the winter elements, etc.
So what is the proper response to the good results that followed? Scripture makes three things clear.
The first is that we must not lose sight of the ultimate source of good results. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 is directly on point: “Beware of thinking to yourself, ‘my own strength and the might of my own hand have given me the power to act like this.’ Remember Yahweh your God; he was the one who gave you the strength to act effectively” (New Jerusalem Bible). See also Philippians 2:13.
The second is that we are not to pat congratulate ourselves about our good work. Rather than being cause for commendation, good work is the baseline. Luke 17:9-10 . We are therefore warned to avoid getting puffed up about what we accomplish. Jeremiah 9:22-23, Romans 12:3, Sirach 10:28. Sirach 3:18 puts it well: “the greater you are, the more humbly you should behave” (New Jerusalem Bible).
The third is to thank God for the good that results. Deuteronomy 8:18 is worth repeating on this point: “Remember Yahweh your God; he was the one who gave you the strength to act effectively”(emphasis added). Thank Him, and acknowledge Him if others acknowledge the results that you were blessed to be a part of.