Jesus didn’t stick around and try to build huge celebrity status and the gospels are full of examples of Jesus sharing His message and either walking or hiding away. He just didn’t stick around to see it. There are several reasons for this, but most importantly was that if he did, man thinking would turn His ministry Earthly and dependent on Him and not the Father and the Holy Spirit. For it is through Jesus that we get to the Father (John 14:6).
To have the attention of others and be the one that people want to spend their energy and time with is fame. Fame spends time with pride and not humility. Fame has been with us since the beginning, it has flirted and joked with us and whispered tempting words in our ear. “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God (Genesis 3:5). Fame and celebrity is no stranger to churches, clergy or Jesus people and anyone can admit that fame and celebrity both aren’t lonely mistresses.
If even the disciples were caught up in fame and celebrity than we can be, for whom among us will be the greatest (Luke 9:46). Culture without God only has fame and celebrity to turn. However, these two lovers also work their ways into ministry. Try holding a conference without big name speakers or a sporting match without big name teams. Who would show up? Who showed up and most importantly stuck around to listen to the messages which Jesus spoke?
I have struggled with this in my life and through reflection it makes me more fond of people I’ve met and whom I once had pity for. I remember my Calculus teacher in high school, Mr Mescar (not his real name). Great teacher, but I remember asking myself why didn’t he become “more.” I remember being so impressed with his teaching and communication. He would pour his heart into a conversation and connect symbols and variables with real life stories through calculus. To this day I haven’t had a teacher as skilled as he is.
There are two reasons why Mr Mescar impressed me so much; the first is because I have tried to teach basic calculus and doing it well is near impossible and seldom accomplished. The second is that, this man lived with so much joy and contentment. He would cruise into the teacher parking lot riding in his little blue pickup truck with what seemed not a care in the world, with a smile on his face from ear to ear.
When I compare Mr Mescar (whom attended a pretty prestigious college) to college professors and speakers of more fame and celebrity there is no comparison, either by virtue or ability. However, Mr Mescar chose to hide away in a mid size high school in Kansas and why I will never know, but I have so much respect for now.
So was being shy of fame a waste of time for Jesus? Would we think of it to be a waste of time for ourselves? Is being known in an unknown place of prayer with Jesus enough (Luke 5:16)? No one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly…show yourself to the world, he was asked sarcastically (John 7:4).
And he replied, “The right time for me has not yet come, for any time is right for you. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the feast, I am not yet going up to this feast, because for me the time has not yet come.”
So how did Jesus get so much celebrity or buzz that he could not openly enter a town or stick around for that long, like the celebrities of today that hide themselves in public. Yet the Good News spread all the more. People flocked to him to be delivered, healed and saved, but Jesus often drew to lonely places and prayed shortly after. Just when it seemed he was at the right place at the right time, he intentionally disappeared. How different are we with FB, Twitter and the like when sharing our messages. Jesus would have driven publicist, donors or congregations mad, because this would leave out the possibility of great works to be overlooked or dollars left behind. After all, isn’t it only best for the Church to reach as many as we can?
So the question lies within intentions and purpose. What are our intentions when we read and share our experiences? What is the purpose of our message?
It took Paul years to talk about his experience of being called up into the third heaven and when he did, he didn’t even tell it as his own (2 Cor 12:2-6). This is one of Paul’s most marketable pieces of material, I mean this could sell some folks, so why didn’t he use it earlier and why didn’t he use it more often?
Explanations to many of these questions I don’t have answers for, but I can read examples of what Jesus’s ministry was like and try to form a closer personal relationship caught up in the Holy Spirit. I cannot allow fame or celebrity to water down my experiences with the Holy Spirit, while I interact and share myself with others.
Today ask yourself why Jesus spent time with hundreds in a crowd, but when he does the ones within this crowd are not the rich, the connected or the well known?
His concentration was on the sick and troubled. He met with sinful men and women and sat with them to share the Love of the Father and the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Who would these people be in today’s world? Where do we share our stories and with whom do we share ourselves?