Mark 12:38-39 “And in His teaching, Jesus was saying, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets….'”
Many of us crave the attention of others. We want people to notice us. To like us.
It happens in the school, in the workplace, in the church — even in the family. Sometimes it’s a child wanting attention from parents. Other times, it’s a guy or gal wanting attention from the opposite sex. It’s a core feature of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WordPress. Everyone likes to be liked and wants to be noticed.
As Jesus looked around, He saw leaders who dressed the part and expected respect and honor. They wore titles and liked court-side seats. They sat where people would see them. They wanted to stand out from the crowd. They considered themselves important and wanted others to affirm it.
Jesus was less than impressed.
Whenever we work to catch the eye of others, we have taken our eye off Christ. The shift happens very subtly. Before long, ten people may affirm us but all we can remember is the one critic. And we then focus our energy on winning over the one critic, rather than honoring the One whom we really serve.
Conversely, we start believing the plaudits and praise that a few generous folk hand our way and, almost imperceptibly, we start expecting such honor. We elevate ourselves. We feel entitled to the perks, the privileges, and the special attention. And without realizing it, pride gets a grip on us.
Some people want to be famous. They like, or would like, to be well-known. The irony, of course, is that most people who are widely-known are not well-known.
As Jesus watched the scribes jostle for prominence, He warned His disciples against it. The flourishing life is not the prominent or the privileged life, but the peaceful life. Those who insist on self-promotion actually experience self-demotion. Those who have to lead, probably should not. Those who want to stand out, should probably stand down while they reorder their spiritual lives.
This is not a temptation merely for Type-A personalities, but for all of us. Is it enough, today, that Jesus sees us? Is it enough, today, to please Him alone?