Raw Reflections from the Journey

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fame and The Famous One

"I want to make you famous."

I've heard this twice from capable people in the past 12 months. The first time my heart leapt at the prospect. We were in need of finances, and were longing for more people to know about what we do. GTRE (our ministry) evaluated the proposition for several weeks, but in the end said no because "fame" and the fortunes the promoter was willing to invest came with a price; bastardization of the message and method by which couples are strengthened and healed from hopeless places. It is God Himself who has shown up through us as surrendered instruments of His Grace to heal hopeless couples. No way could we sanitize our minstry of His name and His power in order to "advance" ourselves and "to do more good". We said no, and it was a significant moral victory. It wasn't easy, but it was a no-brainer, and it was an important lesson on the journey: God has control of provisions and influence, and will provide it if and when He wants us to have it. And, He won't require compromise.

The second time we were approached about fame was just this past week. I think this person has their heart in the right place. Their motives seem pure, but still the invitation feels dangerous. My spirit reacted immediately. "I don't want to be famous. It's a dangerous narcotic, and I don't want anything that could threaten my pleasure in You, Lord." I was surprised but pleased by the vehemence of my internal response. "Maybe I'm really getting it regarding the fact that He is the pearl of great price, worth more than anything this world can supply!"

My response to our friend was kind, but clear that fame is not an objective. "Certainly we want to share lifegiving truth and opportunity to grow and heal with as many people as possible. If the Lord wants to make His ministry to marriages known through our names, then I'm confident He will do that, but it is not something we will pursue. It could be something He would use, but I can't give myself over to it as a goal."

What does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose intimacy with God?

I know this isn't an either/or proposition, but I do know from experience and testimony of others that money, possessions, and position are all legitimate threats to experiencing the reality of a loving relationship with God.

I'm thankful for the "disassembly" as one friend puts it. He chuckled the other day as I testified to the ongoing dissembling of my SELF in a way that leaves me with no option but to find solace in His love for me regardless of what I'm doing or how much I'm doing. For this reason, I celebrate a divinely orchestrated sabbatical from a rabid pace of doing in His name.

Bruce Wilkinson testified to the insidious nature of "doing" for God (Secrets of the Vine). He became depressed at the time his ministry became very successful. Puzzled, he traveled to visit his mentor. Immediately the correct diagnosis was made. The wise older man pronounced that Bruce had allowed his satisfaction in doing for God to surpass the joy of his relationship with Him. The lesson: Better men than me have succumbed to the seduction of doing for God.

Tom Wymore(1) talks about doing ministry absent adrenaline. I understand this to mean that he is as much at peace in his spirit on his back porch watching birds as he is while serving troubled souls during prolonged periods of healing prayer. That probably helps him to avoid "crashing" after "mountain-top" ministry experiences. It sounds like a worthy aspiration.

Fame? Only One deserves fame: The Famous One - Jesus. May all praise, glory and honor be unto Him, forever and ever. Amen.

1. www.tomwymore.blogspot.com


  1. Jeff,
    Thanks for once again sharing your heart. It amazes me that I can read this blog and put myself into concert with your thoughts as I start my own journey. Perspective on motivation is key to being in God's will fully. Keep Fighting!

  2. Nice work, Jeff. Fame is an intoxicating temptation, but it is clear that you have weighed the costs and not just the benefits. Keep up the blogging!

  3. Thank you, guys. I appreciate your encouragement. It is good to have you as friends. That is so much more precious than fame.


  4. Thanks for writing this one. It's not our dream that takes us up the mountain. It's His dream implemented through us.

  5. The last sentence is going to be memorable and helpful, Beth. "It's His dream implemented through us." The pleasure that we take in climbing the mountains He wants us to climb is all too easily mistaken as the purpose and goal, but no, it's actually Him in whom He wants us to have pleasure.