I’ve watched many people in the music industry and it is interesting to see how some went on to great commercial success, while others remain largely unknown, even though they had more natural talent and ability. I’ve heard it said about actors as well, that commercial success depends more on a chance meeting or fortunate event than anything else. Life is not a fair competition among all the qualified competitors where each one gets their chance in the spotlight of future fame and popularity. Moreover, consider the vast number of “One Hit Wonders”, those who got their chance, produced a hit record, and then fizzled into obscurity – how is this explained. Fame and popularity must be the most fickle of all desires and accomplishments, if, in fact, they are accomplishments. At a much lower level of achievement, there are people who are considered “Big Fish” in their small ponds of lesser cities, markets, professions, vocations, or skills that are still known by name. The area car dealer, local TV host, wealthy business man, politician or even prominent clergyman may be well known in their particular sphere of influence. I once heard a sermon about how important it was to know your senior pastor by name. It was a polished, interesting, even humorous talk about nothing important. The world tells us who it selects as our champions, leaders, and important people in every sphere of life, but does it really count our votes.
Now consider what Yeshua said, demonstrated, and lived out in this world. “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ ” (Matthew 18: 1-4). This answer turned the world’s ways upside down. Compare the names of the famous people who have achieved so much notoriety in this world with unknown children who have no abilities much less any achievement. How is this possible? “For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2: 11). Paul touches on this concept saying, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4: 7). James lays out clearly, “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” (James 2: 1). However, the world system is all about favoritism, favoring the rich, the beautiful, then favoring the homeless and victim; when in the Kingdom of God there is no favoritism in either case.
Every achievement in this world is nothingness before God and worthless rags before His perfect requirements. In order to get a perspective of heavenly society every aspect of pride must be eliminated. “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2: 16-17). I believe many singers and musicians who are Believers did not gain commercial success because of the favor and grace of God; that in heaven they will be rewarded a heavenly enduring reward instead of the fleeting praise of men. In our society the desire for fame, even a small measure of it is rampant. It’s why this last generation was willing to give all their private information to Facebook in exchange for the false pride of feeling adored and important among a phantom audience.
Another distinction between this world and Heaven is in justice. There is much injustice in worldly systems, but the Kingdom of God is perfectly just. Yeshua used a story of an evil rich man in Hell and poor but righteous Lazarus to explain it, “…Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here [in heaven] and you are in agony [in Hell].” (Luke 16: 25). It may be that the lowly undistinguished believer will be more esteemed in Heaven, than the famous minister who had the esteem of men on earth. It maybe that the achievements thought great on earth are detestable in heaven.
Lord Yeshua, deliver us from running after the pride of this world, it’s favoritism, and worthless pursuits. We have no good thing apart from you and you are the one that we thirst for. In this world you were lowly though you were the Supreme Son of God and King of Glory in eternal reality. Let us embrace your example and be content to serve and pursue humility, rather than popularity. Brother Lawrence said, “I am so submitted to the will of God ‘that I would not pick up a straw from the ground’ out of any other motive than pure love of him.” Sometimes people make painful attempts and various means to attain the presence of God. Is it not easier to do everything for the love of God and use every opportunity to show our love to him? Lord, show us how to love and live as you did.