Ever since the time I was a little boy one of my favorite hobbies has been watching football. For those who may not know, the goal of this game to is score a touchdown so as to give your team 6 points. Most times when someone scores a touchdown it results in a time of celebration. Most receivers and running backs actually practice some type of a “touchdown dance” that they can put on display when they are able to reach the end zone. However, one of my favorite running backs that I had the privilege to watch growing up with a man named Barry Sanders. One of the reasons I looked up to him is that he was well known for simply handing the ball to the referee after he scored a touchdown. No thumping of the chest, touchdown dance or anything else to draw attention to himself. He simply handed the ball off and gave his teammates a high-five.
The reason why Barry stood out is because of that fact that most people love to bring attention onto themselves. Whether that attention be in the form of an outlandish celebration after scoring a touchdown or, more practically speaking, purchasing something with the primary purpose of being noticed, singing a special to get some “great jobs!” or posting something on social media so that you get people’s attention, all of it is rooted in a love of self and a desire to gain the attention and approval of others.
Paul writes about this is 2 Timothy 3 and teaches that this type of attitude will be prevalent in the last days. He writes in verse 2 that, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, etc.” Look at what 3 of the first 4 traits are- lovers of self, boasters and proud. I don’t think it’s a reach to say this type of attitude is not just something we see “out there” in the world but it’s something that has in many cases become firmly entrenched in our churches and homes. So our challenge today is to ask ourselves if we have allowed a love of self/boasting/proud spirit to get a foothold into our lives. What are our motives for things that we do, even things in ministry like singing, teaching or preaching? I remember being with a former pastor of mine when we learned of a well-known Baptist pastor of a very large ministry in the Midwest who had been found out to be involved in an immoral relationship. My pastor friend’s initial response has stuck with me ever since: “I just want to be a faithful servant of God to my family and our little country church.” No glitz, no glamour, no fame. Just a love for God and others. That should be our priority in life.