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“And this week’s MVP goes to…”

I don’t remember whose name was spoken, only that mine wasn’t and I thought it should have been.

I was angry.

After all, if it hadn’t been for me, we wouldn’t have shut our opponents out.  If it hadn’t been for me, Coach wouldn’t have had the option of moving the rest of the defensive line to the front to help score.  If it hadn’t been for me, our goalie wouldn’t have had her easiest game of the season.

I had been MVP for four weeks straight, though.  I guess Coach thought it best to spread the award around, and she was probably right.  I’d gotten cocky and was starting to feel a little better than my teammates.

I’d forgotten how they encouraged me when it took a while to learn a sport that came easily to the rest of them, how they ran extra laps to keep me company because I was slower than everyone else, and how they wiped my tears when Coach’s words felt too personal.  I’d failed to appreciate how they cheered me on, gave me room to shine, and stood up for me to bullies on the other teams.

Without them, I wouldn’t have lasted the first practice, but I’d grown prideful and forgotten because someone told me I was the MVP.

It was only sixth grade soccer, for crying out loud, but a pattern had begun to develop, a dangerous one.

Monikers are powerful.  Awards.  Titles.  Position.  They go to our heads, even in the Church, and if we’re not careful, we could start thinking we’re better than our brothers and sisters just because the task God has allowed us to carry out by His grace garners more attention than the equally important tasks others have been assigned.

We’ll forget that we are sinners saved by grace just like everyone else, that we, too, struggle to maintain forward motion in our own spiritual growth, and that without the help and prayer support of our brothers and sisters, we’d probably fail more than we do.  We’ll fail to appreciate the wisdom in God’s forming the Church using diverse, but ordinary members empowered by the same Holy Spirit, the mercy and grace we were shown when chosen to cooperate with them, and the much greater sacrifices so many seldom-mentioned brothers and sisters are required to make for the sake of our common mission to advance the Gospel and grow God’s Kingdom.

We’ll forget we are dust and get too puffed up to be of any use, a sickening thought.

Listen, the most recognition any of us deserve for what God accomplishes through us is a participation ribbon for our obedience.  There’s only one MVP in all this, and that’s God.  When people hand you His glory by mistake, give it back!