SUNDAY SERMON: Scriptural reasons for greatness and fame
* A name sells if you have a great one
We have been cowed (falsely) into believing that wanting to be great or famous is a bad thing and evidence of carnality and worldliness. Because of this fear, we have not prayed and asked God to give us great names and global influence so as not to appear worldly and carnal. We have left the business of fame to people in sports and the entertainment industry and related fields and they have used and are using this (fame) to influence people away from the Kingdom of God into hell. And we complain about them! We have forgotten that leadership is influence! People will follow those who are famous; they will follow someone with a name – a great name! They will follow those who are strong and adding value to their lives: people who give them hope, make them laugh, solve their problems, etc.
However a look at the Bible shows that one can be famous and have a great name for the right reasons and for godly impact. A name that has a national and international appeal and fame will command more influence and attract more people into the Kingdom of God than one that is unknown. A great name will command more respect and open more doors globally.
God promised Abraham a great name. Genesis 12:2, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing…” If a great name was bad why will God give it to someone?
Joshua was famous. Joshua 6:27, “So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.”
The fame of Jesus attracted multitudes of followers. Luke 5:15, “But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.”
The Father himself gave Jesus a very great and powerful name.
Philippians 2:9, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth…”
A name sells if you have a great one.
The truth is everyone wants to be successful and famous and they look up to those who have made it as role models whether they are famous for the right or wrong reasons.
It is the motive that matters
Like money, like success, or any other good thing for that matter, fame could be pursued for selfish reasons and could divert a person’s attention and focus from the real issues of purity and piety and the Grace of God. The temptations are enormous! The responsibilities are huge but that’s no reason we cannot pursue greatness for the right reason. Jesus, Moses, Joseph, Mother Theresa and many other great people of contemporary memory were famous not for bad or criminal reasons but for bringing liberation, help and succour to others.
Everything God created has been subjected to abuse but that should not stop us from getting it and using it correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask God to give you a great name that attracts crowds into the Kingdom of God; he promised it and we should have and use it well!
Fame could be dangerous if not properly handled. It can lead to pride and other temptations but God gives us grace to properly use whatever he has given us for the assignment we are called to carry out. One must constantly give the glory to God and be careful not to draw attention to oneself. A good and great name is a huge asset for Kingdom assignment.
The irony however is that great people didn’t set out to be great; they set out to be valuable to society. They set out to add value to the lives of people they come across. They simply used their God-given talents to make life better for the people around them. They were not selfish or self-centred people who used others to achieve their selfish ends as most people tend to do. Great people wake up each day not thinking and asking ‘who can help me today?’ Rather, they wake up each day asking ‘whose life can I make a little better or easier today?’
Great people strive to become the best they can so as to help others become the best they can. Great people see the potential in others and try to help them achieve it. There is absolutely nothing wrong in trying to make as much money as you can in order to help as many people as possible.
Great leaders see the problems in the nation and rally people to solve them. Great leaders are competent in solving problems, not for themselves but for the people they lead. They have great passion for making life better for the people they lead. They solve problems not for themselves but for others. Great leaders bring change; positive change to the people.
In John 10:13 Jesus talked about the hireling who does not care about the wellbeing or welfare of the sheep. As a pastor, how much do you care about the welfare of the flock you lead? What are you doing to solve their problems? How much are you doing to help them unlock their potential? How much time and effort do you put in in prayer for their pains to be alleviated? Do you have compassion in your heart towards their suffering? These are the things that greatly distinguished Jesus from other leaders in his time and even now and they will distinguish you also as a leader.
Great leaders make huge sacrifices for the people they lead. Jesus suffered the horror of crucifixion for our sins.
Great leaders endure criticism from those who might not understand what they are trying to do or those who have a better opinion of how to make things better. They harness such criticisms to improve on themselves and the lot of the people. They also endure criticism from selfish people who attack them to distract them from their mission of making life better for others.
Moses was powerful yet meek. The Bible describes him as the ‘meekest man’. Not lashing out and bringing your full force to bear each time you are criticized is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is sign of meekness; of maturity, discipline, confidence and inner strength.
Great leaders possess the character traits of humility, honesty and integrity. They are transparent and they keep their promise regardless of what it costs. This is what makes their lives attractive; this is what makes them famous! They are not driven by emotion but by character and strong values.
Great leaders never use their position or strength to oppress people; rather, they use their strength to liberate the oppressed.
My first question is how many people will go to bed today thanking God for your life for making life better for them? Your life will come to an end one day; my second question is what will you be remembered for? How many people will miss you?
Have a blessed week!