Last night I had a conversation with a good friend of mine who works in the business world. He mentioned to me how companies often claim that they want behavior "A" from their employees yet reward behavior "B". In other words, a company may say that what they want from their employees is loyalty and commitment to a vision, however, the person who gets rewarded with a promotion is the person who threatens to quit while the "loyal employee" is left wondering what happened. In the business world this type of behavior is probably to be expected.
The sad thing that I have been noticing is the parallel behavior that takes place within Christendom. I have certain acquaintances--who give lip service to God's sovereignty and His desire for His people to be humble--who I see scraping and clawing to make a name for themselves in churches, ministries, and broader Christendom, with no thought of how they are "getting there." The tragedy is compounded when these people are then recognized by "influential Christians" as the movers, shakers, and leaders of the next generation. These movers and shakers are then put forth by publishers and ministries as the voice of Christianity for the masses. The most disturbing thing about this is that the very people who use self-promotion to get ahead are then the spokesman for a religion founded on the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of a humble carpenter who had no place to lay his head. Why is it that we are rewarding those who "love to be first" instead of putting them under church discipline? It appears that Peter knew of the disillusionment that this could cause when he wrote:
"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. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:5-7).