The Gospel of Fame
Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
I knew a college pastor a while ago. Whenever in general conversation with him, he would say something like “When I become a pastor…” In other words, he was implying when he becomes a senior pastor. This particular college pastor missed a very important point in his young calling; – he was a pastor. Whether senior or college pastor, he had a responsibility to the students in his ministry. His focus, however, was elsewhere, on so-called “making it” to a bigger stage.
Genesis 16:1 “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar, so she said to Abram, The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
God had promised Abram and Sarai a child, but Sarai became impatient and took matters into her own hands. There is great consequences when we seek to make God’s promises come into our lives outside of his perfect will or timing. We miss opportunities that God has waiting for us. We miss people who God planned for us to minister to. Simply put; we miss the mark. As with the college pastor, because he was more focused on being a senior pastor, he possibly missed great opportunities to minister to those under his authority. We live in a world today where the main objective is a quest for fame, and unfortunately, Christians are running parallel with the world’s idea of success. We seek fame too – whether we admit it or not.
Jesus already tells us in Mark 16:15 to go into the world and preach the good news to all creation. We already have this directive; the purpose God calls us to, and many of us are preaching the good news in various aspects; via writing, singing, teaching, preaching, performing and so forth. But we are not content until we reach the millions. We are not content until we see our name in lights.
Recently I was part of a few Christian blog groups online. We share our blog posts and attempt to support other bloggers. Combined, these groups have over 20,000 Christian bloggers! I had to remove myself from most of these groups because I did not like the idea of self-promotion in the Christian community. Now, before I get ridiculed for criticizing blog groups, I will say, a few of the smaller groups do try to support each other. But in regards to the larger blog groups, it felt like a race against our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I found myself interacting with other post just so someone would interact with mine. That’s not right, is it? Shouldn’t I be happy and excited to see what God is saying through others in my field? Plus I might learn something from my peers, right? Do I even really consider them peers? As Christians, we aren’t supposed to be on a race for fame or competing against each other when we essentially have the same mission – the kingdom of God. I decided to refocus.
1 Samuel 15:12 “There he (Saul) has set up a monument in his own honor;”
As a leader for God, Saul’s attitude was in stark contrast to that of Moses and Joshua who gave all credit and honor to God. Saul’s motive was fame. He desired to be worshiped by the people. He desired popularity. When we fail to live dependent on God’s purpose and His timing, it can be a disaster.
Our family attended a church for a while and the preaching revolved solely on following our dreams. I cannot tell you how unhappy me and my husband were during this time. We were pounded with how much God wanted our dreams to come true – yet we didn’t see any of our dreams as a reality. So we took matters into our own hands. My husband’s dream was to be a football coach. Through our frivolous understanding of God’s Word, we concluded that God wanted us to move across the country so that my husband could coach with his friend who was a head football coach at a high school. His friend promised him a position. We prayed and made ourselves believe God had blessed our move. Make no mistake about it, you can make yourself believe God is answering your prayers!
In a four-week period, we packed up, sold all our possessions, and moved our family of six (which included four small children) across the country. We left our life and friends. We were doing what the pastor kept preaching, following our dreams! My husband’s friend was moving up as a football coach, so we knew without a doubt, as he moved up, he would take my husband with him. Well, three weeks after moving, everything fell through. That promised coaching position my husband had, didn’t go through. The money we spent moving – wasted. We had no choice but to return home. Within a six-week period we moved our family across country twice! We had to find a new place to live back home, start fresh with new possessions, and establish our life all over. We looked like complete fools! But this is the result of trying to get ahead of God. This is the result of seeking fame, over the kingdom. My husband admitted after that situation, he was on a quest to coach for himself, for his glory, and not for the glory of God.
1 Chronicles 11:9 “And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him.”
I don’t waste my time blaming the church or the preaching we were under, which influenced our trip across the country. I’ve said it before, our walk with Christ ultimately boils down to us. If a preacher tells you to jump off a bridge to test your faith, would you do it? In the same way, we have to stay in prayer and fellowship with God no matter what someone else is preaching. And God will not send us on an empty quest for our glory.
When David consistently stayed in fellowship with God, he saw great success. But the point is, he wasn’t seeking success first, rather, he was seeking God first. Those who are more concerned with building a name for themselves, first, risk losing exactly what they crave. Yes, David was famous, but it stemmed from his concern with righteousness and honesty and his trust in God. David left the results of his faithfulness up to God.
Years ago I craved a big audience. Last week I spoke to a group of women. I arrived a little early. When I walked into the room it was set up for about two-hundred people, with a stage, and podium up front. I instantly started to have a panic attack. Then, the leader of the organization came in and talked briefly. She finally mentioned that her group only utilizes the two front rows, which equated to roughly thirty women. Peace came over me. Yes, I craved a large audience at one time, but God knows what He’s doing. The group I spoke to was perfect for where I am in my walk with God. It doesn’t mean my audience won’t get bigger. If it does, it will be by the hand of God – at His timing – for His glory. Not mine. Same with you. No matter how many tactics you try, God knows what’s best for you. He knows your true heart, and He won’t move you until your ministry is about Him.
Do you crave fame? Are seeking attention from others? Do you truly believe God is using you, even if your audience is small? How can we let go and fully trust Him?
to be continued…