March 31, 2014 by Chris French
Would you be okay with people 100 years from now not knowing who you were or what you had done? Of course, your children will remember you and they’ll probably even tell their own children about you, but what if the marks you’ve tried to make on history and your family never made it to your great-grandchildren? Your name and your exploits will be lost to history, never to be spoken again.
Maybe you’re okay with that, but are you okay with the good things you do today never being noticed? What if you spent all day today and tomorrow making improvements around the building and Wednesday when everyone came in they were astounded at the amazing changes that had been made? Maybe your name never even came up when people were attributing the work to the nameless do gooder, maybe everyone even thought it was someone else. Not getting the recognition for something we had done would eat at most of us because we have a problem with obscurity.
We want to be acknowledged for what we’ve done. This is even a Biblical concept! In his discussion about Christians supporting a non-Christian government, and even anti-Christian government, by paying taxes in Romans 13.7 Paul says that you should give honor to the people who are worthy of it. If you’ve done something great we should celebrate your achievement and you. The problem comes in when you want that recognition. That’s the feeding trough for pride! That’s the reason I don’t like obscurity. It doesn’t feed my pride! God has already promised to make a big deal out of us provided that we don’t try to do it ourselves (Luke 14.7-11). So our attempts to draw attention to ourselves is really just a distrust of God.
Something else to think about is the more credit I take for the things I’ve done, the less credit the Father gets. He may have used me to accomplish those things, but it wasn’t from any outstanding character trait within me that allowed me to get this done. It was Him! The more I embrace obscurity the more famous the Father becomes. That’s our goal as Christians. We’re not trying to make ourselves famous! It will not matter in 100 years whether I get the credit for the good things I’ve done, but if I put all that on God it might change the Kingdom. It brings attention to Him, not me and that’s the point of our lives.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1.11-12
Most of the ideas from this week’s post come from Embracing Obscurity. I highly recommend reading it. You can get it here.