In an Age of Celebrities… Humility is Rare

The world is currently full of celebrities… both major and minor, thanks to the internet and popular culture. Men and women naturally love the applause and accolade of their fellow human beings but this is a phenomenon which should have no place in the Christian realm.

When one sees a well-known leader in the “Christian” world being lauded and honoured by thousands and often millions of cheering crowds, there is surely something terribly wrong. How concerning is the knowledge that there are “evangelical Christian” preachers out there who have become bathed in fame and fortune over the years! People revere the man and are not looking to the Saviour. Their personality, their charisma, their very presence gets in the way of the love, goodness and humility of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly, too, these seemingly great preachers can often be deceivers… “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers unto the false prophets.” (Luke 6v26)

One evening I had just returned home from a poetry reading event (where I had felt like “a fish out of water”) when I stopped in my tracks in amazement, at the words of the verse of a hymn floating out of the kitchen: “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.”

“I will not boast in anything,

No gifts, no power, wisdom;

But I will boast in Jesus Christ,

His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?

I cannot give an answer;

But this I know with all my heart –

His wounds have paid my ransom.”

It was as if this singing on the kitchen radio as I filled the kettle was just for me and my eyes filled with tears. I had earlier felt the ridicule of other writers but really I should never have expected to be accepted by the world…. I can only write for my Saviour; applause has no place in the life of the Christian; genuine and sincere encouragement from other Christians, perhaps – but not applause.

My participation at the open-air public event I had just attended was intended to reach others for “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…” (Romans 1v16) But the words which the Lord gives those who write for Him are very out of place in this world. They don’t fit well with men’s many other philosophies as I have discovered – and Christian poetry is incongruous in a world of intellectual snobbery. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness…” (1Cor. 1v17) and yet I pray for those present that they will remember something later and be drawn to know the Saviour who loves them.

There are many older hymns than the above which echo these sentiments too. “When I survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts is one of them…

“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ my God:

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to His blood.”

Frances Ridley Havergal’s “Take my Life” is yet another…

“Take my silver and my gold;

Not a mite would I withhold;

Take my intellect, and use

Every power as Thou shalt choose.”

All that we do, say and write should surely be to His glory. In a world where the applause of men can be deafening, the standard for the Christian in this regard is to follow the Saviour’s example in all humility. “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23v12)

“…And the common people heard Him gladly.” (Mark 12v37) He owned nothing; “He had not where to lay His head” and when the streets were lined with palms, He rode on a donkey – not an amazing golden carriage drawn by great white horses or like in today’s world, where a “pastor” might have his private jet. Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18v36) – and neither should ours be.

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6v14)

 

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