“Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them.”
Jeremiah 45:5 (NIV)
I recall being at a national denominational convention and trying to find a person I wanted to discuss something with. Spotting a friend, I asked him if he had seen the brother. He said he had not but if I could figure out who was the most important person in the room I would find the man at his right elbow. I laughed but realized that the person I wished to speak to was indeed a status seeker.
There is a fine balance between ungodly personal ambition and the desire to excel for the Lord. An example is a minister who wants to be a famous preacher after the manner of Billy Graham. Certainly seeking to be a productive minister of Jesus Christ is a worthy goal. However, those in the ministry ought to heed our Lord’s admonition to Peter in John 21:21-22 (NIV)
“When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’
Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?
You must follow me.’”
The great lesson here as stated in our verse today is not to seek greatness but intimacy with the Lord.
Our great joy in life is not to be had in our stature in the Christian community, nor is it to be in our important positions on church or mission boards. We must ever be desiring to know more and more about our great God and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. We should be single-minded in the goal of glorifying Jesus with our lives—regardless of whether or not anyone notices us.
The measure of a Christian is never the value the church places on them but how much they value the Lord. Interestingly enough, the most used people in the church are precisely those who treasure the Lord the most. Also they are the most indifferent to the praise of others.
When our Lord spoke about status seekers, He said the following in Matthew 6:2 (KJV)
“Therefore when thou doest thine alms,
do not sound a trumpet before thee,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets,
that they may have glory of men.
Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”
Those who seek the praise of men have their reward. Their reward is simply that they have the praise of men. But God is not impressed. Seeking great things for ourselves is sinful according to the Scriptures. Seeking great things for the Lord and for the good of His beloved people is precious in the sight of God.
In Zechariah 4:10 (NIV) we read,
“Who dares despise the day of small things…”
Do not be concerned that no one sees how honest you are in secret. Let the praise of God satisfy your heart always. As long as your heavenly Father sees the good you do it should be enough. Do not fret because you are not noticed by others. The only one who really counts is the Lord and His watchful eye is always on you.
If you mind your own business the Lord will mind it as well and bless you with His loving presence. His reward is with those who love Him and set as their goal to be pleasing in His sight.