Christians have perfected the tortuous over-spiritualizing of self-deprecation. You see it in ministry all the time. Someone tries to pay a sincere compliment to another Christian and gets smacked down faster than a flyweight amateur boxer at a heavyweight MMA title match. The person trying to be an encourager leaves the conversation deflated, and the person who deflected the encouragement with unnecessary and inappropriate self-deprecation gets to feel spiritually superior for having done so.

But here’s how I’d love to see the conversation go sometime:

“That instrumental you played during the offering was wonderful. You are such a gifted pianist.”

“No, it wasn’t me. That was all God.”

“But God did use you and all your talent to bring us that wonderfully worshipful music.”

“Oh, anyone could have done that.”

“Yeah I guess you’re right. Like a little baby could have.”

“No, not a little baby, of course.”

“OK, not a little baby, but like you said anyone could, even someone who has never taken any piano lessons, like me.”

“Well, I’ve been taking lessons all my life.”

“All your life, huh?”

“Yes, and I practice a minimum of 3 hours a day.”

“OK, you practice 3 hours a day …”


“… three hours a day minimum, you’ve been taking lessons all your life, and you probably practiced that piece you played today quite a bit too.”

“Of course.

“Yeah, I see what you mean.”

“About what?”

“That wonderfully worshipful piece you played, the one that you practiced for, that all your lessons and practicing over the years led up to, the one that was so meaningful during the offering … it was nothing special.”

“What do you mean it was nothing special?!”

“Like you said, anyone could have done it.”