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Popularity does not determine your worth - Albia Newspapers: Opinion

Popularity does not determine your worth

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Posted: Friday, August 18, 2017 9:35 am

Greetings. Well school is upon us. Wow! Where did summer go? The State Fair is winding down, the high school football season is upon us, pennant races take on meaning, farmers are really starting to focus on harvest upcoming and the state of their crops, and, yes, I have even seen a smattering of Christmas things in some stores. Yes, sad but true on that last one.

I did a column a few weeks ago which has gotten rave reviews. I often get feedback on columns but the one on gossip really got great reviews from folks I would run into in such places at weddings, grocery stores, on the street, etc, etc. One valid last point on that column. Proverbs 25:15-28 says “Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.” I saw that recently. Lying is vicious. Its effects can be permanent as those of a stab wound. The next time you are attempted to pass on a bit of gossip or hear some, imagine from that verse you or someone else striking the victims of your remark with an axe. The image may shock you into silence or cause you to reprimand the person passing it. Make this a gossip-free fall and never tolerate a purveyor of it.

Today, I want to talk about popularity. Some of you reading this may be really popular or were in school. Others of you may be pretty anonymous or have been most of your life. Popularity is something that is a big part of our culture. High school and college kids often crave it and end up disappointed when they do not have it. Some will cave in on their morals to seek after it even. But adults will do the same thing sometimes. Many love to be the center of attention or in the spotlight all the time. Others could care less. Businesses and politicians always try to be the most popular. Popularity is like a drug for many. They crave it. But popularity is overrated. Matthew 10:32-33 says to never be so popular that you are ashamed of the Lord. James 4:4 says that God does not want us to be popular with everyone. 1 John 2:15-17 says that believers need to even stay away from some popular cultural activities John 17 says that Jesus himself was not popular with everyone. Matthew 3:7-10 and Mark 6:27 say that obeying and staying true to God may make you unpopular.

Popularity is not the gauge that determines your worth. The things Winston Churchill said before WW 2 to warn Great Britain against the dangers of Hitler were scorned and he was very unpopular- but he was right. Abraham Lincoln was not a very popular man in most circles either. He was too common and said things many did not want to hear. Many preachers are not popular because they tell the truth or because they often do not cater to the certain elements that want to run things.

The Pharisees constantly tried to trap Jesus and they often used His associaion with the supposed common people or “low lifes”, as the perfect opportunity. Their constant actions showed what they valued most- the praise of people, popularity. They were more concerned with criticism than encouragement, with their appearance of holiness than in helping people, and with outward respectability than practical help. But God was and is concerned for all people including those who lead sinful lives or those who no one pays much attention to.

The effective Christian life is not a popularity contest. As Christians, we need to share the Good News with the poor, lonely, and outcast, not just the good, talented and popular. God takes note of all people. He cares about all people. Popularity with God is essential, not anyone else. His approval is more important than anyone elses. We do not have to be noticed or receive any praise but from the Lord.

Hebrew 11 is often called the Faith Hall of Fame. In our world today there are many Halls of Fame. There is a Pro football, baseball, racing, basketball hall of fame. There is an agriculture and many halls of fame. There is an acting hall of fame and it seems a multitude of activities have halls of fame. Communities have them. Many people are in multiple halls of fame. People are rightly cited for their contributions and achievements. But there are multitudes who never get into any of them.

I always thought Roger Maris and Kenny Boyer deserved in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not there. But Roger was not always the most popular player to the media and Kenny never got the press of a Ron Santo of Chicago. Numbers there for both but the popularity was not as great. Both were good and decent men. What I am saying is that popularity is powerful in our world but it is not essential. But they had great and fulfilling careers and were satisfied. All of us need first and foremost to please God. We need first and foremost to be in a sort of Faith Hall of Fame, which cites us for running the race and being true to the Lord whether anyone notices or not.

Around our world, thousands toil anonymously for the Lord. Popularity does not necessarily mean fulfillment. It is not essential. Many are not popular in cultural circles and may be totally unknown. But God knows them well. There are those who work with the destitute and the dregs of society but they are valuable in God’s sight.

Often people who try the hardest to be popular, never make it. But praise from people is not that important my friends. Never spend your time trying to please people or devising ways to do it so you will be accepted by them. Instead, always strive to do what is right even if no one notices. That is what is important. If God notices, who else needs to? If God is pleased with you and how you conduct yourself, what else matters? It is something we need to understand as adults and to definitely teach our kids.

One final note: Christians in particular are not always going to be popular. We live in a fallen world and just being a Christian can make you a target. Jealousy can make you a victim and a target. Just remember, life is not about being a celebrity or popular, it is about pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ. That is all that matters. Shalom.

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