The Right Reverend, Pastor, Bishop, Prophet, Priest, Apostle, Dr. L. A. Marzulli M.U.M.B.O.J.U.M.B.O.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
There is a magazine – I won’t name it here – that has glossy, full-page advertisements for Christian conferences in it. A collection of, smiling, well-groomed, toothy, teeth-whitened, head shots, adorn the page often with titles underneath the names proclaiming Bishop, Prophet, Apostle, Evangelist, and on it on it goes. I know I shouldn’t laugh at this, but I do – Lord forgive me – because it always brings to mind the verse above.
Of course I’m goofing on all of this, thus my pompous, bombastic, title with the mumbo-jumbo letters tagged on the end! However, as we see in the ads in magazines, Christian TV, and to often from the pulpits, self-aggrandizement, all to often, seems to have usurped the admonition of scripture.
One thing I have learned in my 30 years of walking with the Lord, that He doesn’t like a proud heart, a haughty spirit,or a self-obsessed person. He usually will bring correction and He needs to, lest we get puffed up.
There is a method that, with a little practice, we can achieve this without joining a monastery or living in a cave! If we learn to treat everyone we meet the same, regardless of who they are, or their position in the world, it frees us from putting on airs, or thinking that in some way we are superior or inferior. For everyone we meet is made in the image and likeness of God…. all men and women are created equal, endowed by their creator with inalienable rights!
Let me explain. When I was a worship pastor at a Southern California main line denomination, former President, Bill Clinton showed up on a Sunday morning, complete with secret service guys – they were even on the roof of the building. He sat in the middle section, next to a Secret service guy – Hillary wasn’t with him – and I began to lead worship, with the team. After the second song, the congregation, to their credit, began to focus more on the Lord than on Clinton. When we were finished there was a moment where everyone stood still before the Lord, as we waited on Him.
At this point I looked out at the people and realized that Jesus was the great equalizer. Here was the most powerful man in the world, who at that moment was just another man standing before God along with the other men and women in that congregation. I have never forgotten that moment, as it was clear that when we stand before Him, everything falls away. Our titles, position, accomplishments, education, successes or defeats, all will fall of their own weight when we are face to face with Jesus.
Our natural tendency is to elevate ourselves and take the “best seat” if we can. Last Monday I Blogged about the stampede at Target. Here is a graphic example of selfish ambition! The stampede happened because people put themselves instead of the other guy. It is the me-first spirit that created the stampede in the first place.
In closing today’s Bun, it is important for us to remember that we can’t do this in our flesh as it is. I believe, the Holy Spirit who will instill this in our lives. It is however, a mind-set for us to be aware of as we grow in Him. It is liberating to realize that we don’t have to pretend to be something that we’re not. We can be ourselves and esteem those around us as better…