Now is Not the Time to be Exalted
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
Luke 17:7-10, “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? (8) Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? (9) Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? (10) So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'”
I have been thinking much of late about pride. Over and over and over again God warns us to beware of it. I came across the verses quoted above (Luke 17) and was reminded who I am – an unworthy servant doing only my duty, and that imperfectly. It is all done for Christ, not for self-glory. How soon and how easily we all forget this. Listen to these words from Peter:
1 Peter 5:1-7, “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: (2) shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; (3) not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (4) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (5) Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (6) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, (7) casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
Peter’s primary warning to those who keep watch over Christ’s flock – pastors and elders – is, humble yourselves. Don’t go after it for money, don’t domineer over your people, model Christ to them. All of us are to clothe ourselves with humility. It is to be the garment that people see when they look at us. Surest way to have God Himself stand against us is to be proud.
Notice that in verse 6, we are told to humble ourselves now and leave it to God to exalt us at the proper time. We all know when that time is: when the Chief Shepherd appears (vs 4). Here then is the warning:
It is not the time for any of us to be exalted. Not now. At the proper time, Christ will reward and exalt us in His glory. But not now. Not now. This is a time for humility.
And how soon we forget this! Think through this with me for a moment. If I hand the keys to a new car to my son when he is 12 years old and tell him to drive wherever he wants, what is the problem with that? Besides the fact that any parent who buys their child a brand new car without having the child work for it in some way is pretty unwise, the real problem is that a 12 year old is not ready to drive. He or she can’t handle it. Disaster and even death will result. The time has not yet come.
In this present life, exaltation of self is like handing car keys to a 12 year old. It is like giving a new rifle to a 6 year old and telling him to go out back and have a blast. The time is not right. It is not the proper time for us to be exalted. Humility is the order of the day.
So, my question: Why do we insist on making superstars out of our Christian leaders? Why do we exalt them? What do we think is going to happen to them if we do this? Or, if they are exalting themselves, why are we permitting that to go unchallenged? No human being, I don’t care who they are, can handle exaltation like this.
I would suggest that there are some car keys and rifles that have been pre-maturely issued to some of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is far past time that we recall them. “Give me the keys, son – it isn’t time for you to drive. The day will come, but it is not now. This is for your own good, and for the good of Jesus’ church.”