“But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:11
Flee – Success at any cost. Financial accumulation. Power. Prestige. Image. Controlling influence. The top of the pyramid. Celebrity status. Are you running away from these things?
I am always a bit discouraged when the Christian community parades its celebrities across the stage. I wonder if Jesus would emcee such an event. I suspect that he would be sitting with the janitor or talking with the parking attendants. Do we go to the auditorium to have some of the glitter rub off on us? Is there just that hint of secret envy? Have we simply sanctified the “success” package commonly viewed on any corporate platform? Why would we pay to hear the big name but we couldn’t care less about the woman who serves in the kitchen? Something is wrong in the “Christian” world. Take away the hymns and the God-talk and we look very much like the rest of society. Are we running away from these things, or are we chasing after them as fast as we can?
Paul says that men and women of God will flee the world’s paradigm of money and success. He offers us another direction. Run toward righteousness. Sprint toward godliness. Chase after faith and love.
That’s the problem, isn’t it? If we pursue the characteristics of the Father and the Son, we aren’t likely to see our names on the billboard. We won’t get the television interviews. We won’t sit in the speaker’s chair. People won’t clamor for our autograph. We’ll just fade into the background of life, the unrecognized but remarkable servant-slaves of the King of Kings. Oh, yes. By the way, He will be right there with us, on His knees, washing feet.
Never underestimate the subtlety of ego. Ego deflation is a constant challenge to every servant of the King. Wherever we begin to hold up an image of success that does not lead us directly to the cross, we are in danger of heading in the wrong direction. To serve Jesus is to die. And there are no parties at ego funerals.