Happy New Year! The Christmas season just ended and do you know what was in every Target store just in time for the holidays? Chip and Joanna Gaines’ new home decor line Hearth and Hand. If Chip and Joanna haven’t become a part of your family’s vocabulary, they have a show called Fixer Upper, which is a very popular home remodeling show. It’s the show that has people all over the country looking for shiplap and a farmhouse table. Perhaps you had an item on your Christmas list from the Hearth and Hand collection? Perhaps you’re a Chip and Joanna Gaines fan? My wife and I are fans. My wife even more so than me. If these house-remodeling and decorating gurus came strolling into our church on a Sunday morning, my wife’s heart would probably start beating a little faster! I know one thing for sure…I would even do whatever I could to have them come to our house for lunch so that while we’re eating, I could ask them what they would do with each room in our house.
What is it about us and celebrities? We Americans are just addicted to them, aren’t we?
You could probably name a celebrity that you admire and would be super pumped to meet.
My wife used to work at Glenmoor Country Club’s hotel about 17 years ago. The hotel is located in a gated community on a golf course and is where the players on the PGA Tour stay when they golf in the World Series of Golf in Akron. One day my wife had to take some dry cleaned clothes to Tiger Woods, who at that time was in his prime. After handing him the clothes, she noticed an empty pizza box sitting outside his room. She took the pizza box to give to her brother because he was a huge Tiger fan. She may have thought it was a good idea, but when she told me the story I couldn’t help but think that was totally weird of her to take the box, let alone keep it and give it as a gift to her brother! My wife even thought about trying to sell it on Ebay. In hindsight, she really should have.
Britney Spears’ chewing gum was listed on eBay in 2004 for a whopping $14,000. A jar supposedly holding Brad and Angelina Pitt’s breath, which someone supposedly caught as they walked by on a red carpet, sold for $530 on eBay. Justin Timberlake’s half-eaten French toast sold for $3,154.
We naturally gravitate towards the rich, the powerful, the influential, the beautiful and the ultra talented. In a world obsessed with fame and attaining the applause and the approval of others, it is extremely easy for us to believe that greatness is found in wealth, power, influence, attractiveness, or achievement. The world tells us that the richer you become, the more influential you become. The more people that are following you on twitter, the more people approve of you. The more attractive you become, the greater you are, and for that matter, the happier you’ll be. This is the air we breathe.
How would you define greatness? What is the measure of a great person? How would you answer that question? Who is great among you? What makes them so great? What do you admire about them? Is being ultra-skilled or successful or accomplished or attractive or powerful or popular the measure of greatness?
You know, Jesus’s closest friends had this very discussion and here’s what Jesus told them: “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” These words of Jesus were similar to what he told his friends on another occasion, words to his friends at another time, “...But whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Who are the great ones in God’s eyes? Humble servants. In this new year I encourage you to aspire to greatness. Posses a humility that is okay with being second, that doesn’t demand its own rights and privileges, that is concerned with the well-being of others, that loves to see others succeed and is happy to do good in secret. Take time to study the life of the ultimate humble servant, Jesus Christ, and be inspired. One way you can do this is to check out the sermon series titled “Humble Christmas” on our church website, in which over a period of four sermons we wrapped up 2017 looking at a different aspect of Jesus’ humility as the ultimate humble servant.
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