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Home arrow Articles arrow Plagiarizing God?
Plagiarizing God?

I am often appalled as I pick up magazines to find articles that have been written by someone else passed off as that particular writer’s own work.  Plagiarism as defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary is “to take (the work or idea of someone else) and pass it off as one’s own.”  Universities and colleges the world over are coming down hard on plagiarizers, often failing or debarring students from further academic pursuits for not giving credit where credit is due.  Simply put, plagiarism is cheating—passing off someone else’s work as one’s own!

Last week en route to see the pastors in Madurai, I had the privilege of meeting one of my spiritual mentors, Victor Frederick, now chair of the English Department in Madras Christian College.  As we reminisced about the days in Emmanuel Methodist Church he mentioned how every blessing in his life was a gift from God.  But more importantly, he said he shared that truth wherever he went—in college, in classes that he took off-campus, or to anybody whom he happened to talk to about a blessing in his life—he always articulated the fact that it was God’s doing and not his own.  The credit for good things in our life must go to God, and sober words from Scripture remind us that God expects it.  “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give my glory to another,” or as the Message puts it in more modern parlance: “I am God. That’s my name.  I don’t franchise my glory.” (Isaiah 42:8)  

And yet, we do it all the time, don’t we?  It’s easy to say “Praise God” to fellow believers, but when we’re complimented by a colleague, a classmate, or a friend—ones who don’t share our faith—on a new vehicle, a new home, a promotion, a stance we take, our ethics, our moral values or anything else, we usually “humbly” acknowledge the compliment and bask in “plagiarized” glory.  And often, it’s  simply because we are “shy,” “bashful” or are trying to be “politically correct,” when all along we know that  who we are, what we stand for, and what we have, are only because we bear His Name and receive from His generous Hand.

 James points out: “Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven.  The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.” (James 1:17 The Message)   So also our promotions, the Bible says: “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.  But God is the judge: he putteth down one and setteth up another.” (Psalm 75:6-7 KJV)  And the list could go on, and we know it; we know it is the hand of the Lord that leads us, guides us, gives us the right words, the right job, a loving spouse, wonderful friends and beautiful friendships, all these good things because we are His children.  As Scripture says: “If you being sinful know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11 NLT)  He gives, doesn’t he beloved, but the question is do we give Him the credit for all that He does in our lives?

I’m not talking about thankful hearts.  God knows we are thankful, we usually acknowledge that aspect in our prayers to Him.  No, I’m talking about giving credit.  Do we say with unabashed frankness, “God gave this to me” or “God did this for me” or that that “wise input” was because we believe in a God who said that if anybody lacked wisdom we could ask and He would give?  Or do we usurp the glory, take the credit, bask in the limelight and cheat God out of what is His due?  Those are hard words to hear but important words I think for our times.  If we give God glory for everything that happens in our lives, more people are going to be aware of Him, more people are going to want to know Him and God gets a chance to “draw (more) men unto Himself.”  Jesus Himself said: “And I, if I am lifted up will draw all men unto myself.” (John 12:32)  That, after all is what we want, isn’t it?

John the Baptist said it well: “He must increase and I must decrease.”  He must get the glory, the credit and the honour due to His name.  So, no more plagiarism.  No more cheating God out of what is His due.  Instead, let’s showcase our God to that part of the world that doesn’t know Him. Amen?  

In love,


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