When we use what is meant to glorify God to glorify ourselves we are stealing what doesn’t belong to us. When we pile up the praises of men and build a platform where we’re the ones being exalted then we look a lot like the Pharisees. When we use Jesus to build our own kingdoms then we will one day perish on our platforms.
When I lived in New Orleans, I was filled with excitement for all the new things I was experiencing. It was my first time living in a city. It was my first time to move somewhere and literally know no one. It was also my first time to ever get to truly choose my own church.
I remember visiting several churches and desiring to find the place where I really fit. When I finally found the church that would be my family and home, I remember feeling so excited. I loved everything about it and I just wanted to be a part of the movement. It was a church plant so each Sunday involved setting up and tearing down. In my zeal—after the service and still before I really knew anyone—I just started helping take down the chairs. I really didn’t care what I did, I just wanted to serve and be a part of it.
A No Name in the Kingdom
That’s the picture Jesus paints of the kingdom of God. When you find it, you’re excited. When you find it, you want to be a part of it. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44). The joy is found in being a part of the kingdom. It’s something bigger than us. The man in the parable didn’t care about the cost. He wanted to be in that kingdom. He was willing to lay down everything he had in order to obtain it.
I’m also reminded of a conversation with a friend when I was in college. We were discussing plans after college and at the time, the Passion movement (Louie Giglio) was really in it’s prime. I remember him telling me that he’d like to just offer to sweep the floors after the Passion conferences. He said he really didn’t care what he did. He just wanted to be a part of it.
I think when we have our hearts and minds focused on Christ, this is typically the attitude that follows. We want to serve him. We want to follow him. We want to do what it takes to make his name great even if no one knows ours. We’re content being a no name in the kingdom of heaven. John the Baptist knew this well when he said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). John’s ministry was all about Jesus and not his own fame. Paul also understood this well. While he was well known, he also suffered greatly and endured much hardship to make Jesus famous.