Popularity’s Dark Side
Months of preparation, media promotions, advance personnel, timing, celebrity endorsements-whether it’s politics, rock concerts, or church revivals, professionals that can guaranteed they can turn out numbers get big bucks. Beware! Crowds get dangerous. The sheer press of the multitude can trample innocent spectators. Think of those killed at sporting events because of bad crowd security. But there’s a more subtle danger when thousands and thousands show up for your big event.
In the first century about half way through His itinerant ministry, the Jesus movement took off. Bigger than the John the Baptist gatherings, thousands pressed to get a glimpse of the Galilean country preacher. His miracles inspired wonder and awe. His words breathed life.
When a religious leader can generate crowds like this, I expect the next step to be conferences with detailed strategies on how to duplicate this success with step-by-step power points on how to make it big. Instead, Jesus took His eyes off the multitudes and focused on a small group of devoted disciples and warned them about what happens when you only care about gathering a crowd.
“In the time when thousands gathered-crowds so large that there was the danger of being trampled by the masses, Jesus began to say to His disciples, ‘First, keep careful watch over yourselves! Beware of the Pharisees leaven. It’s hypocrisy, Playing a role to please the crowd, putting on a show, hiding one’s real purposes, it’s all hypocrisy.
You need to realize. Nothing concealed that is not revealed. Nothing secret that will not be made known. Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light and whatever you have spoken behind closed doors will be shouted from the rooftops.’” Luke 12:1-3
In our high tech age with video cameras and recorders in every hand there is no off the record word or deed. What’s said in private goes viral in seconds. But it’s not this kind of exposure I fear.
There never have been and never will be secrets when it comes to dealing with God. He not only knows every word I say, He also knows everything I’m thinking. It’s not playing a role before a crowd that can easily be deceived, it’s pleasing my Heavenly Father who knows everything and is pure truth.
LORD, you know all about the opportunity Sammy and I had to share about biblical leadership all over western Kenya and over into Uganda. Thanks for the opportunity that Mumbo Radio gave to us, but help me as I teach about being a servant to practice what I preach. By your Spirit remove any hypocrisy, any playing to the crowd. Make me a man of integrity.
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