If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all. -Mark 9:35
I’ve noticed a trend amongst people today. We think we are important. It’s as simple as that. We show this by what we say, how we act and how we prioritize our lives. It shows in how we drive, it shows in how we talk to others, it shows in how we work, it shows in how we interact with others on social media, it shows in how we act in different situations. I saw this on display just this morning when I witnessed a woman yell at a barista for messing up her order. I mean full out yelled. We think we are the most important person there is, and we have fallen prey to the idol of importance. We think we are the most important person in our lives, and it shows in how we live.
I’ve also noticed this trend within churches, mainly from within leadership and from pastors. Many pastors and leaders within churches have become so consumed with their value or their measurement of importance that they don’t seem to have much time for anyone else around them. This is seen in what they say, how they act and how they interact with others (inside and outside the organization). It worries me when pastors and leaders don’t have time for people simply because they feel they are too important.
There is an idol of importance in individual leaders that can be very dangerous to an organization, but there can also be an idol of importance that comes out of a desire for more. More followers, more people, more hits, etc. The number is all that matters, and this can easily lead to an idol of importance. When we place a higher value on how many people follow us on Twitter or how many Retweets we can get or how many people attend our church or event, we have begun to focus on ourselves and our own self-worth and importance. When Paul is leaving the Ephesian church I love what he says in the middle of his address to them in, “I consider my life worth nothing to me“ (Acts 20:24). When we value ourselves over other people, and believe we are too important to serve others we have forgotten this message. We have forgotten that our worth and value is found in Christ-alone, and we are called to be a servant of all. This trend worries me as I see pastors and leaders who are more focused on sheer numbers or followers, or must have a witty comment on Twitter at all times.
We all need to be reminded that we are not important. We aren’t. Christ is important, and we are to make much of Him. We should not strive after importance, but instead should put our energies into Kingdom pursuits and showing the importance and worth of Christ. I’ve fallen for the idol of importance plenty of times in my life, but I’ve also come to realize that to make much of Christ I cannot also make much of myself in the process.