Growing up, I can recall being praised for my achievements from both my mother and my teachers. I was an ambitious student, extremely introverted, but creative and conscientious. To me, when I heard praise, it was synonymous with goodness, citizenship, and the hope of a successful future.
A.W. Tozer wisely wrote: “Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice.” He wrote this in the 1940s, way before a self-centered culture ushered in by the arrival of digital media would become the new normal. He didn’t foretell the perils of social media, although we know that self-promotion is nothing new. However, the distinction made in Kate Motaung’s and Shannon Popkin’s new book, Influence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me), warns believers to not fall into the trap of seeking adulation from the world at the cost of their purpose in life: to glorify God.
As soon as my son returned from a few days backpacking and tenting in the desert in October, we were off again in November for a weekend in Mexico. There, I got sick for days, my madrina almost choked at a taco stand, my middle son got a nosebleed, my daughter got stung by a cactus, and my mother’s face became puffy from a mite infestation, all during the trip. It’s been an eventful month. The air in California recently has been brutal considering the Woolsey firestorms that misplaced so many. I find myself grateful for much, and even for that which seems hopeless in life, there is room for thankfulness. Being ill is humbling. Being out of the country, albeit for a few days, was a lesson more valuable than what a book can teach.