So I recently had a rant on a social media site. You’re not really supposed to do that, but I thought it was a good kind of rant, so I let it go. It went like this…
“I can appreciate someone’s dedication, accomplishments, or contributions, but I am not easily star struck by anyone. If any of us accomplish anything noteworthy I this life it is by the grace of God that we do.
Our accomplishments make us no more valuable to the Father than those who struggle to do anything of measure. If we are going to esteem anyone, let it be the One who grants the grace and mercy for accomplishment in the first place.
Let’s stop making idols of mere mortals when we have the Savior of the world to adore and acclaim. So forgive me, ma’am or sir, if I am too thoughtless to bow in your presence. I hope to be so busy focusing my appreciation on Jesus that I just cannot find the time.”
See? Just a tiny little thing.
Both my husband and my best friend thought they knew about whom I was writing, yet they were thinking about different people. The truth is they were both correct. My rant has nothing to do with anyone in particular, but everyone in general who believes at all that they should be elevated to any level of stardom because of any earthly accomplishment.
I don’t read People, Rolling Stone, or Star magazines. With the exception of a few, long running ones, I am at a loss to tell you the names of many movie stars. I mean, I might recognize the face of the guy that was in that movie about the thing, but that’s going to be the extent of my knowledge on the subject of him.
I agree with that pretty country singer (What’s her name? I’m kidding. It’s Shania.) when she sang, “That don’t impress me much.” Other than the fact that I wish she had used better grammar, her point is well taken.
I do actually appreciate sacrifice, dedication, and accomplishment. I can admire the hutzpah it takes to make it at anything in this world. I just don’t see the value in magnifying the person so much. At times, in the circles in which I sometimes travel or have traveled, I watch folks stepping and fetching for the “inhabitants of the corner office”. These folks may not actually have a corner office, but you get my drift.
Fame, recognition, acclaim… it is all temporary. That brass ring so many are reaching for? It’s going to tarnish. Its value will one day be gone. This life is fleeting, and the prevailing theory for many is we have to grasp as much as we can before it’s over. And if we can’t grasp it for ourselves, then we need to grasp the hemline of someone who actually can.
We are commanded never to esteem any thing or anyone above God. We are told that to idolize anything other than God is to break one of the commands given us that guide our lives and govern our society. Why were we told this? Here’s the deal. That guy or gal in the corner office? The one you see everyone falling all over themselves to step and fetch for? He has secrets. She has a history. That public persona that the world sees is not the real person. The real person has failings just like you and me. That real person has the same fears of failure that you have. That I have. They just might be better at hiding them than most.
We are called to serve one another, for sure. But are we called to give deference to the highly successful? Do you remember when, in the temple, deference was given to the rich? They were afforded the best seats in the temple. They were given the best foods at the feasting tables. Do you remember what Jesus said about all that?
He said to cut that stuff out.
Instead, who did Jesus esteem? Jesus told of a poor widow who gave a mere penance to the temple offering, and yet Jesus knew that while the rich and powerful had given out of their wealth and bragged about it, she had given out of her poverty and said nothing. She had given all she had. (Mark 12)
No one would look upon the woman and think to step and fetch for her. Why? She had nothing to offer them. She was on the fast track to nowhere. She was a burden to her community, not a blessing. She had created nothing of value; she hadn’t brought wealth and prosperity to anyone. But that’s who Jesus esteemed. Why? Because he looked upon her heart and saw true gold, and real riches.
So I’ll tip my hat to the rich and powerful, to the successful and accomplished, but I won’t serve them… any more than I will serve the weak and poor, and hopefully not nearly as much. We are called to love all, but we are called to serve those in need. We love because we see the real value in a person, and that is the value placed on them by God, not by one’s accomplishment.
If we are honest, we generally serve the powerful or influential for what they can do for us rather than out of any real need they have. I think it is fine to honor them for their important contributions, and for their faithfulness to their mission, but we have to remember that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of heavenly lights. Our accomplishments are really God’s through us, not our own. Now there’s a place to focus our esteem. There’s a Person for whom to step and fetch.
It’s all about focus. It usually is.