When Recognition Becomes an Idol

Parables of Jesus for the Modern Pilgrim.

There is something about our human nature that longs for recognition. We want the trophies, even when we lose. We want gold stars for every bit of effort we put forth. Have we done ourselves a disservice with this practice?

Let’s see what Jesus said about it.

Luke 17:1-10

Jesus is talking with the disciples about the responsibilities they face as the future leaders of the Way. He doesn’t pull any punches. I love the way Jesus gives full disclosure of what discipleship looks like.

The first warning focuses on temptation and sin. Everyone gets tempted. That’s not the lesson. What’s dangerous is the fate of the tempter. There is a great consequence for the one who leads others off the path.

Then Jesus gives guidelines on how to correct someone who sins. Notice that Jesus qualifies this advice with,¬†“when a believer sins…” It’s interesting to me that there are special instructions for how we deal with each other in the family of God. If your fellow disciple turns from their¬†wrongdoing, we are required to forgive them. Jesus even directs us to keep forgiving. All. Day. Long. For as many times as they repeat the process, we are to forgive.

At this, the disciples obviously feel overwhelmed. “Show us how to increase our faith.” This is going to take supernatural help.

But Jesus assures them that faith is potent stuff. If you have the tiniest amount, you can do miraculous things. Nothing will be too hard for you. Even forgiving your brother for the seventh time in a day.

Then Jesus tells them the parable of the master and his servant. The servant does his duty to his master. He works hard and makes sure the master has all he needs. He takes care of his own needs last. The servant should not expect any special thanks for doing his job. The attitude of the servant is, “we were only doing our duty.”

Jesus is making his final point about what the workers in the Kingdom of God should expect. The disciple of Jesus serves with humility, remembering that God is worthy of our service. He is loving and kind, and yet still deserving of holy fear. He is God and we are not. He is the Creator, and we are the creature.

Lessons for the Modern Pilgrim

  • The follower of Jesus must never take a boastful attitude.

“Look at how many times I forgave my brother.” “Look what I have given up to serve the Lord.” There is no need for this. We can’t earn God’s love and mercy. It’s already ours. We don’t have to beg for God’s favor. We serve because He is worthy and we love Him.

As followers of Jesus, it is our duty to serve God. This is a normal flow of events. Don’t get caught in the trap of looking for recognition at every turn.

  • Recognition can become an idol.

It takes a measure of potent faith to operate against our natural tendencies and submit to the ways of the Lord.

Here is a great question that someone wiser than I asked me.

“If God would not do anything else for you than what He has already done, would you still serve Him?”

Your answer may help you uncover how you truly feel about your service in the Kingdom.

1 thought on “When Recognition Becomes an Idol”

  1. Wow! So many powerful thoughts to get hold of here. So many things to mull over deeply. Thank you for another great blog!!?

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