I had a teacher in middle school who I remember taught math. He was an older man with white bushy hair and a raspy voice and his favorite thing to do, besides teaching math, was to yell out “it’s not about you!” at various comments.
“What did you get for Christmas?” someone would ask.
“It’s not about you!” He would respond.
“Hey, how was your weekend?” I was ask a friend.
“It’s not about you!” My teacher would butt in.
“I’m sad because my favorite pencil broke and now I have to use this one.”
“It’s not about you!”
As a middle school student, those exclamations got annoying very fast. ‘Let me just talk about me for a little bit!’ I would think to myself in my head. Why was he so opposed to it?
I didn’t understand until the last couple of years or so when I would sit in a pew listening to a sermon on God’s Will. We studied verses in Church about Jesus pleading to have His cup removed that showed how desperate the situation was yet how much more desperate God was to save His people. We studied verses about prayer that taught “His will be done” throughout the earth. We studied verses about taking up one’s cross and following Jesus that taught a follower needed to lay oneself down for Him. It’s not about us.
The most central part of the Christian message is that we, as humans, can never work our way into heaven. No matter how perfect we try to be, how many good things we do, we will always fail. But that’s the whole point. We need someone else to do that work for us, and God so graciously sent the perfect Someone–His Son. Salvation comes through His work, not ours, His deeds, not ours. And the blessing is, that through Jesus’s sacrifice, we can be free!
My teacher yelling “it’s not about you” in the middle of the class was annoying and somewhat distracting. But now I find myself reminding myself of that concept throughout the day. It’s a silly way of remembering that God is the One in control, He should be the focus, not me.
The Christian faith shouldn’t be about what we are doing but about what God is doing for us. There’s a reason many Christians choose to emphasize the aspect of relationship over religion. Having a relationship with Jesus means being a part of His salvation story, it means trusting Him to do what we cannot do and accomplishing what we could never do. At the end of the day, it’s not going to be about what you have done or what I have done. No, when we stand in front of God at the end of time, it will be about Him, His works, His perfection, His love and sacrifice.
Do you find yourself focusing on yourself and your limitations rather than the power of God? Remind yourself throughout the day that it’s not about you. Write it on your hand, on a sticky note, on a mirror (in expo marker) and let it serve as a reminder to look to Him and His saving power.