Surviving the Desire to Be Known
People have a desire to be know by others. All of us have an appetite to be known, but the thing about an appetite is it can never fully and finally be satisfied. The more we feed it, the more we crave it.
There is no amount of fame or success for your appetite to be satisfied. At what point do you say, “I am known enough.”
This desire starts when we are young because we all wanted to be famous with our fathers. We see in our children that there is something in them that wants to be known for something and known by somebody.
In ministry, we can get caught up on numbers ad what others think. We feel bad when attendance decreases. We might think self-conscious thoughts while we preach on stage.
There is no amount of applause, there is no amount of being known that will fully satisfy you. Instead your appetite grows.
3 Laws of Applause
- What is exceptional the first time will be expected the next time. Exceptional becomes “expectional”. A lot of leaders become so enamored with being known.
- Applause is intoxicating, and intoxicated people don’t make very good decisions. Those most applauded for, feel most entitled to.
- Applause is addictive. If you get it once, you want it again. You may even be tempted to manufacture it. Amen?
So how do we make sure that we don’t fall victim to the laws of applause? Let’s learn from John the Baptist.
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
The whole country of Judea and all of Jerusalem came to see John the Baptist. Apparently, thousands and thousands of people showed up in that dry, dusty environment just to hear him. This is not an easy place to get to, but he attracted thousands. He is a phenomenon. He is known.
But with all of this attention on him, he chooses to turn the attention from himself to Jesus. When John did this, he lost two disciples to Jesus. When people confronted John the Baptist about him losing his fame, John replied, “A person can only receive what is given to him.”
John the Baptist knew when his time was up and was not going to try to manufacture what he had before.
Surviving fame is remembering who it is from and who it is for.
Your appetite for fame will never be satisfied by a number but a name – a who not a how. John the Baptist got it right.”