On Christian “Personalities”

There are many in the church today like those the Lord mentioned who love the best seats, etc., etc.  Many years ago, there was apparently an complaint in a religious paper that “Christian workers” weren’t receiving enough honor.  Amy Carmichael wrote a poem responding to all such fleshly pride.

MEDALS AND HONORS?

Medals and lighted titles?  Who but is ashamed
That such, for such as we, should ever be claimed
As our just due?  Perish the paltry plea,
The sordid thought.  Oh how little, how little have we
Done for our kind; that little, how faultily.
And yet what joy to do it!  Has the day
When “The Offscouring of All Things” could be
An apostle’s title wholly passed away?

Ah, but if one among us covets famed
Great Orders – recognitions – let him lay
Close to his heart two ancient words, and say
Them over and over till he be
Somewhat attuned to them:  Gethsemane
The first:  the second, Calvary.

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“…to be seen of men,” Matthew 6:1-5

Our Lord scolded the Pharisees on more than one occasion.  One of the things He charged them with was doing it for the attention they received.  Ostensibly, they were serving God, but really, they were serving themselves.

One time, Spurgeon referred to ministers who sought out snippets of praise like a cat sniffs out a mouse, that they might have them for their breakfast.

There is something “heady,” if you will, about standing in front of people and being the center of their attention, at least for a little while.  This is why some pro athletes and movie stars find it so difficult to “retire,” and sometimes “come back” when it would have been better for them to have stayed retired.  They miss the “center.”

A couple of you have nominated this blog for awards.  Thank you.  It means a great deal to me.

At the same time, I sense in myself the attitude Spurgeon commented on.  I’m disappointed when there seems to be no response to something I’ve posted.  When there are comments, I’m happy.  I have to ask myself, why?  Am I disappointed because I’m not receiving the attention?  I’m not in “the center”?  Do I seek praise as the cat seeks breakfast?

In all truth, I’m just an instrument in the hands of God, amazed that He’s pleased to use such a contrary one.  When a tourist goes into the Sistine Chapel, he doesn’t ask to see Michelangelo’s paintbrushes.  He is awed by the painting.

I’m just a “paintbrush” in the hand of God.  Even that statement seems almost to be one of insufferable pride.  If I know anything of Scripture, it’s only because God has allowed that.  If I’m able to write, it’s only because God has given me that ability.  If something is blessed to you, it’s only because God has blessed it to you.

I do love to write.  Some men and women are able to take wood or stone or some other material and make something of it.  I use nouns and verbs and punctuation.  Yet all of that is in vain if God doesn’t own and bless it.

I thank those who have nominated me from the bottom of my heart, but I can’t in good conscience receive these awards.  Thank you for thinking of me like that.  I don’t deserve such honor.  Jacob told God, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth that You have shown Your servant,…,” Genesis 32:10.

I’m not, either.