John Maxwell is a great writer who has encouraged many to become better leaders. He recently penned the following words. “Too often we think that if we can impress others, we will gain influence with them. We want to become others’ heroes – to be larger than life. That creates a problem because we’re real live human beings. People can see us for who we really are. If we make it our goal to impress them, we puff up our pride and end up being pretentious – and that turns people off. “
Maxwell has hit the proverbial nail on the head. It seems that more people in our world are interested in being impressive than they are in being impressed. It happens all the time. It happens among adult children when there is sibling rivalry. One family member wants to outdo or one-up another family member. One family member wants to dominate the conversation and refuses to allow others to talk. One family member thinks that what they have to say is more important than what anyone else has to say.
It happens among preachers and church leaders. A group of preachers get together and it seems like one wants to out-impress the others. Some preachers and church leaders set themselves up to be experts on a wide variety of topics seemingly to impress the masses. They love to talk about their works and how wonderful everything is with them, yet seldom ask about the work that others are doing.
It happens when Christians get together and each one believes their stories are more important than all the others. It happens when one parent or grand parent only wants to talk about their family and never listens to others. It happens when one Christian is obsessed with talking about their own life (victories, joys, sorrows, etc.), yet shows little interest or concern in the lives of others. They love to attract attention to themselves.
This approach to relationships is far different from the attitude of our Lord. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-8) The Apostle who penned these words lived his life in an attempt to follow Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1). Notice his words that express his desire to please God rather than impress man, “But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court...” (1 Corinthians 4:3). In Romans 12:3 he gives us this caution, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.”
If our goal in life is to be impressive we will mistreat others and we will not be characterized as those who have the mind of Christ. While this attitude may be prevalent among those who do not know Jesus, it should not exist among the people of God. The world wants to impress. The child of God is interested in serving others just as our Lord served the world.
Dear God, please help us to follow the example of our Savior who gave of Himself to all of us. Father help us to show the world that it is not our goal to impress others, but to live a life that pleases You. Help us dear Lord to be interested in others and not just ourselves. Help us to show the love of Christ to everyone around us.