“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV
It’s easy as a kid to idolize all types of celebrities and want to be like them. I was very much into basketball when I was in my early teens. I would spend hours outside shooting hoops, pretending to be Michael Jordan sinking the game-winning shot, or Shaq dunking on some helpless fool who had no chance of blocking the shot.
I would fantasize about what life was like being a superstar, where you would go, who you would meet, how fans would go crazy at the sight of you.
It’s easy to be drawn to celebrities of all types and not just in the sports world. You take movie stars and music icons that have millions of followers who would pay an insane amount of money just to be in their presence. They act and think and wear the latest clothing of these people they want to be like.
By trying so hard to be like someone else, not only do we try to mirror them but we give up our own identity. This can be a modern-day form of idolatry and what you see currently is the power of social media on the younger generation. Now the modern idol is the influencer, the Instagram celebrity, the TikTok superstar.
Actually this article is not about idolatry, we should have Jesus as our focus, the author and finisher of our faith. It is also not wrong to follow celebrities, to watch sports, etc.
What most people realize when they try to be like someone else, and what I realized when I tried to be a basketball superstar, is that you can only be who you are and the steps to get to a place of elevation is not for everyone. It takes an unbelievable amount of grind and hard work, not to mention raw talent.
No matter how much I practiced basketball, I was completely lacking in skill to take me further than high school. Not only that but I was not committed enough to put in the long hours required. When you look at a sports superstar, you don’t see the failures, the grueling 10-hour practices, the frustrations, and the enormous amount of money spent on coaches and events for exposure. Even someone with natural gifting like Michael Jordan had to show up to practice every day. He had to commit himself to his craft and listen to his coaches.
As Christians, too often we want God to show up in our lives and bring about our desires without putting in the effort! God rewards faithfulness and obedience and not just faithfulness in doing the things we want to do.
We can even idolize preachers in the church who have celebrity status. And yet the pastor who is being faithful to a flock of less than 100 may be in the will of God while a Mega-Pastor of 1 million followers might be preaching a false gospel.
We also do not know the struggle that other people have faced who we want to be like. The happily married couple you want to be like may have been on the verge of divorce because of adultery. The successful author may have had multiple previous books that flopped. The pastor leading a successful church may have been a previous drug addict that God restored.
The important thing to ask yourself is this: where is God calling you to be faithful? Promotion from God may or may not come and if it does, I believe it always is a result of our faithfulness to where we are called, even if some of the pieces were broken along the way.
If we look at the story of David, we see a man who was faithful where he was before God promoted him to be king. He was faithful taking care of his father’s sheep for many years, fending off lions and bears that might attack. He was faithful playing music to King Saul to calm his spirit. Keep in mind this was after Samuel told David that he would be king. David had to be faithful and wait for the right time and in God’s time. David was also on the run from Saul who tried multiples times to kill him. David did not dishonor God by killing Saul on two opportunities that he had, but waited for the right time and eventually became King after Saul died in battle.
There’s one verse that really stuck out with me lately. Can you relate to reading a random verse that you might have read a hundred times, but then it just hits you? The Holy Spirit works that way; He illuminates and provides revelation in Scripture when someone else can read it as “just a book” without that illumination.
Anyway, what’s the verse you might be asking?
To set this up, David was anointed as King BEFORE he defeated Goliath as a shepherd. Did you realize that? God anointed David as King and instead of taking over the throne immediately, David had to be faithful tending to sheep. We see this in 1 Samuel 16. In chapter 17, Goliath comes and intimidates the Israelites. It was still not time for David to be King. David’s father, Jesse, commanded David to bring his three brothers who were at war some food.
1 Samuel 17:20: “Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed.”
David was a very good shepherd, not only did he protect it from attacks but he also left it in the care of another shepherd when he left. He did not allow the attraction of getting close to battle with his brothers negate his first responsibility. He did not let his sheep fend for themselves. God had big plans for David with Goliath and being King, but David was faithful where he was called even though he might have caught a glimpse of what God had in store.
Can you imagine if David ran away from his sheep, entered the palace of King Saul, and demanded, “God made me King now give me the crown and step down!” Saul was already prone to jealousy and would have killed David for sure.
Jesus illustrated faithfulness in His parable of the 3 servants who were entrusted with bags of gold (talents in some versions). To the one servant who had 5 bags, he multiplied it to 10. To the servant who had 2, he multiplied it to 4. To the servant who only had one bag, he dug it in the ground to which the master returning responded, “You wicked, lazy servant (Matt: 25:26 NIV)! His one bag of gold was then given to the servant who had 10.
Our goal is to be the one Jesus says “Well done, good and faithful servant!” When we are faithful to what we are given, many times God will bring promotion, because He sees we can handle more. But it is important we do not rush it beyond God’s timing and we should also not expect it if it is not God’s will. God may keep you in a situation for a season or it may be for the rest of your life. It requires discernment to be able to hear the voice of our Heavenly Father and it requires obedience to act upon the path He is guiding you.
Maybe right now you feel stuck. Maybe God has placed a vision on your heart but you are not seeing it come to pass in the timing you want. Maybe you are stuck in a job you dislike. Maybe you want to reach the lost for Jesus but right now you are only teaching one person. Maybe God has you in a season to grow and learn.
Maybe right now you need to strengthen your marriage or build a foundation with your children. Stay faithful to where you are called. It is better to wait on God than to rush things in your own effort. And when more responsibility is given to you, don’t neglect your first calling. Don’t neglect your marriage, your family, your job, or your relationship with Jesus because of an “opportunity” to do more.
God has given you talents, physical and spiritual abilities, which He can use for His glory if you let Him. Will you multiply them for the Kingdom or will you bury them in the ground?
In everything we do, we are called to do them “as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23 NIV), even the things which are frustrating or that seem trivial.
Discerning Reflection: What season am I in now and where do I feel God is eventually leading me? How can I be faithful in the small things God has given me to do? What vision has God given me that I am waiting to see it fulfilled?
Prayer: Lord, help me to be faithful to where I am called and in the season I am in. I desire to hear you say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Give me the patience and the endurance to not neglect the responsibilities you have given me. I trust in your timing, Lord. Amen.