The Earnest of Being Important

The other day I was reminded of the following sent to a pastor friend of mine some years ago now:

Subject line: “Shakespeare – Wilde”

“Dear Terry,

After our conversation yesterday, as well as catching up on my reading at your suggestion, I had two rather famous titles come to mind this morning; “Much Ado About Nothing,” and “The Importance of Being Earnest.” This last booted up in my brain as “The Earnest of being Important,” (Oscar Wilde). It seemed to me like it should have been a Shakespearean title.

In any case with that bizarre intro, let me get quickly to the point.

(By the way it is all right if I call you Terry, isn’t it? I could have addressed you as “Brother Terry,” but I have a brother in the flesh, and I never called him, “Brother Ned,” because he really was my brother. Since you really are my brother, I thought I would just praise The Lord, and call you Terry. Come to think of it, under the leading of the Spirit, I even get to call my heavenly Father, “Daddy.” Somehow that doesn’t seem to have the proper dignity to it, at least, not by the standards of this world.)

First, I need to get some chips on the table:

Galatians 2:6 “As for those who seemed to be IMPORTANT–whatever they were makes no difference to me;”

Mark 9:35 “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.”

Mark 10:31 “But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.”

Matthew 23:5-12: “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

Matthew 18:4-6: “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Perhaps that’s enough to get started with. What really came clear to me this morning was the apparently very carnal tendency that we all have to interact with people in their order of importance. The “platform” people, of course, get our greatest respect and attention. We are most careful with the dignity of those of greatest title. We are not so careful with the average pew sitter, and the “little ones” get our least attention. Jack Frost has correctly pointed out that, “to be humble before God is not to be very humble at all, for God is in a very high place. But, to be humble before a child, is to have the kind of humility that Jesus is looking for.”

Jesus places great importance on not offending the little ones. Offending “little ones” seems to be a capital crime in The Mind of Christ. The implication of the passage seems to be that offending the “big ones” is, either not as big a crime, or less likely to happen, so doesn’t need the capital punishment deterrent. I found myself asking myself, “Why is that?” What is it in us that might be more inclined to offend or be indifferent to offending a “little one” than a “big one?”

Could it be our own desire for position? Do we go and make things right with a platform person or, higher still, the one who determines who gets to be on the platform, because we are striving to be there ourselves? But making things right with a child isn’t seen as important because they are not important? When the “little ones” are still in the womb, they are regarded as of so little importance, that they are discarded altogether.

What I have seen is that going to those whom we have offended is not the number one favorite thing to do in the Kingdom of God in any case, but we are much less likely to go to the “little ones” we have offended than the “big ones.” Yet, a little one who is offended can be much more deeply scarred, and that, for a lifetime. The “big ones” are a little thicker skinned, and not so deeply wounded by a careless word or a lapse of love or faithfulness. If an “orphan spirit” is something that happens to most of us at an early age, and that because we have been stumbled by an authority figure in our life. And, if an “orphan spirit” is the very opposite of the “spirit of sonship” that God wants to impart to us by the perfected work of His own Son, then offending “little ones” is, in deed, a much greater offense than offending “big ones.”

So much for the theory, now to the practical: Over the years, as my wife Carleen and I have ministered to others and taken them into our hearts, home, and family, there have been many occasions when people have simply walked away for whatever reason. For the most part, these relationships have since been reconciled and put right. People came back and apologies were made and received, … to Carleen and me, that is. But I have only recently become aware of how deeply offended our children were in all of this, and when people came back our children were not seen as being of sufficient importance to get apologies of their own. As a result, our children continue to be offended to this very day with those who have since “put it right” with Carleen and me.

Funny thing happens though – children have a way of growing up and becoming important in their own right, important, but damaged, damaged by the lack of real humility among the saints. Again, I have to ask myself, Is spiritual abortion any better than physical abortion? Do you think we will ever get the “platform mentality” out of our heads, and replace it with the mind, and humility of a little child?

It’s easy to talk humble when you are on the platform, not so easy to be humble when you are striving to get there. I guess the proof is in the striving. “…But Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”

Yours in Christ,


P.S. Please feel free to use any of this that might be helpful anywhere you think it might be needed. 1 Peter 5:1-10″


This entry was posted in J.Ferris: Warfare against Intimacy and Conversation. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Earnest of Being Important

  1. twotrees928 says:

    What saith the SPIRIT!

  2. Millie Spock says:

    Dear brother Jay,
    My heart is stirred from reading this correspondence . Your words rang true that Little ones learn humility by what they see and experience from their parents .Reading 1 Corinthians 13. I couldn’t help but see that love and humility go hand and hand together .Thank you for showing Christ to all the Lord has given you . Love from your sister, Millie

  3. I appreciate the permission to plagiarize your material,Ive been doing it for years without it,and it sure has been worth it.

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