We All Desire To Be Known
A few years ago, while watching TV in our room before we fell asleep, my wife and I were watching a documentary on Walt Disney. The show focused on the legacy that Walt would leave here on earth…literally everybody knows his name. His vision was to bring happiness to so many people, despite their circumstances. No matter what difficulties they may be facing, they could get away for a day and have fun, enjoy themselves in this magical world. I noticed that my lovely wife had fallen asleep at some point, but I found myself awake still, thinking about the importance of leaving a legacy and how we as christians should think about this. I have heard others say that our legacy as believers is important. I’ve always thought of this idea as the overall life we live, especially as christians… our “body of work” during our time here on earth (which feels important). But the problem is that it puts a lot of emphasis on all that we’ve done, by worldly standards.
To be honest, I feel the pull of wanting fame and wanting to be known for something, something good and something excellent.
I can trace this back a long way, whether its recognition for athletic accomplishments in high school or people finding out an interesting fact about me or up to the present… wanting to be known as an important worship leader who has a great voice. But something feels wrong. Again, if I’m honest with myself, often I simply want others to appreciate me and think I’m good at what I do. I hear young kids say “I wanna be a rock star” and I see how our culture holds celebrity in such high regard, especially in music. At its core, its sinful pride, even at an early age. I do however, believe the simple desire to be known isn’t what is sinful. Here’s why: God made us to be in communion with Him and to know and be fully known by Him. But when that desire for the respect and the admiration and the praise of others takes over, then we have made fame or the approval of others into an idol.
That night watching the Disney documentary, God reminded me of something. I wasn’t given this opportunity to lead others at Westtown for the purpose of me becoming a great worship leader or for our church to achieve some sort of musical excellence during our worship services. I exist to make Him known. I have been given this opportunity to amplify the glory of God and to help others known HIM… not me. As I lay there in bed, it was by far one of the most powerful worship moments that I’ve ever had. The message felt so clear. We exist to bring Him glory, to make Him known, to make Him famous. This is counter-culture to what we see everyday and unfortunately even to what we see in the church sometimes. Our God is good and worthy of our lives to be lived in excellence so by all means, pursue excellence… but for Him & His fame, not our own.
I remembered back to Passion 99 in Ft. Worth, TX. The theme verse was Isaiah 26:8:
“Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”
RENOWN: (noun) “fame; the condition of being known or talked about by many people.”
God literally tells us in His word to make Him famous. Let this be our prayer.
“Your name, LORD, endures forever, your renown, LORD, through all generations.”
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”