Recently, a ministry colleague said to me that the reason why so many people have such a hard time in ministry is because churches today don’t care about you unless you are already someone important.
I wanted so badly to prove him wrong, but I couldn’t because both he and I could think of many people, including us, who were victims of that type of thinking. While every word he said to me was true, the comments are part of a specific type of thinking in a specific type of ministry setting. Anywhere there are people who don’t believe that the power of God is stronger than their own power will be folks trying to decide who is important.
However, experience has told me that there is a whole world of church folk out there who are about the business of God to the degree they are just looking for those called by God to do the work. To this group of people, titles are not as important as anointing; people connections are not as important God connections, and pedigree (in all its various forms – genetics, education, marriage, etc.) is not as important as being a child of God.
As I was reflecting on this conversation, I thought of John 7:3-4, where Jesus’ brothers were trying to get him to be more public about his works. They said, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”
I am so glad Jesus told them to kick rocks. Actually, he said in verse 6, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.” In essence, Jesus was saying, you may think it is time for me to go public, but it is not time.
While others will only recognize us when we are elevated, God recognizes us when we are still hidden. That is the truth that we must hold onto when dealing with folks who are only interested in who we are according to society’s standards or even contrived religious standards.
While doing the work of God is sometimes a public act, seeking after man-made fame or recognition is a dangerous place to be. Even artists who only produce art that sells, often find that they have sold out their souls.
In today’s text, Jesus reminds us that the only recognition that matters is that given by God. One of my favorite Gospel singers, Francesca Battistelli, says it this way,
“I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name”
Today, as you reflect, is there something you have been discouraged to do because of people’s thoughts about your level of importance? If so, consider this, Jesus Christ reminds us that God is the only recognition we need?