Right now I am reading Philip Yancey's, Soul Survivor. Unlike most of Yancey's books, this one is about all that is good in the church. I love it! Yet, I am noticing a strange thing in myself as I read this book. The work is a collection of mini-biographies of all of Yancey's spiritual mentors. When I read these biographies, I find myself thinking, "Wow, I want to be like that some day." It is almost as if these accounts awaken in me a sort of spiritual envy--a desire to be great.
I notice the same thing when I read a lot of popular Christian ministry magazines. Most of these are intended to give pastors ideas--"Check out what so-and-so is doing. What a great idea, you might try this too!" However, a side effect of these magazines is that they create Christian celebrities. This month's issue of Relevant magazine has blurbs about 10 articles on the front cover. Of these ten, only three advertize the content of the article ("The Scene Visits Boston," "A New Year's Manifesto," and "Our Guide to 15 Must-Have Books, CD's, and DVD's"). The rest are based on personalities (such as the cover stories, "Ben Folds Defends Jesus, His Lyrics, and a Dog" and "7 Big Questions: Warren, Driscoll, Bell, Winner & Others On the Future of the Church"). The magazine is marketed based on people, not issues.
I don't mention these things to complain--Philip Yancey is my favorite author and Relevant is a great resource. I mention them to ask why these resources have this effect on me (I am also sure that I am not alone on this). I find myself wanting to do something great just so that people might want to write about me. When I catch myself thinking this, I can't help but shake my head in frustration. I went in to ministry to get away from all of that. If I wanted people to know my name, I would have gone into another profession. I don't want to waste my life chasing fame and fortune; I just want to be faithful to serve where I am at and to be a good husband, friend, brother, son, and (someday) father. My prayer for the day:
"Father, I pray that you would frequently remind me of what is important in life, and that my ambition would not get the best of me. I thank you for all of the rude awakenings that you have brought my way in the past to correct my priorities. I pray that I wouldn't sacrifice my marriage, my family, or my life on the alter of celebrity--Christian or otherwise. When I read about the deeds of great men, I pray that I would not be envious. I pray that I would be grateful of what you are doing in the lives of others and that I would be faithful to pray for them. You are a good God. Amen."
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