“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” James 2:5
When asked this question, most of us would say “I serve God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son…this is the God I serve!” But I would like to challenge you on this today, and in this challenge I hope we might recognize a very real and present danger in our lives right now. What is that danger you ask? Money – riches, fame, glorification of lifestyles that are not acceptable to God.
This pursuit of recognition on the world’s stage is wrought with sacrifices that will hollow us out and leave us mere shells of who God knows us to be. It is interesting that longing for wealth and recognition isn’t just the pursuit of money, but it is the pursuit of acceptance and accolades from the world itself. The trap can be – “What does the world tell me I should be” or, “How can I impress the world with my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook accounts?” We have a lot of people who have become internet famous in our world today, it seems easy to do…and so an entire generation is growing up longing to have that fame and fortune as well.
In Jesus’ day, Pharisees were sort of Ancient world “internet famous” – they performed good deeds in the street so that people might see how good they were. People looked up to them, and they lived an elevated lifestyle amongst the common folk. Jesus said of their public activities: “Be careful not to perform your righteous acts before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, asthe hypocrites do in the synagogues and on thestreets, to be praised by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward.” (Matthew 6:1-2)
Serving those around us so that others might see our good deeds in not serving God…it is idol worship and we have built self-serving gods in our name. Be aware of this trap. Recognize it for what it is, and reject the notion that in order to be a Christian we have to publicly show our goodness and prove our worth. This isn’t true worship of God, this is showmanship and does not bring honor to God. Instead, serve God even if no one sees you. Love others even if it is not reciprocated. Allow those silent, unobserved spaces to become your sanctuary to the Most High…may it be only for Him! When we shift our focus from self to God, we realign what worship is, and in Whom we worship.
Lord forgive me when I have not worshiped you, but elevated my status and ego.
I recognize that I must decrease and you must increase in my life. Help me to serve you regardless if I ever receive credit for it on this earth. May the words of my mouth and the actions of my heart be acceptable to You, Oh Lord my strength and my Redeemer. -Amen.
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