Meditations by John Dean

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Fame Test

(Proverbs 27:21 Message)  The purity of silver and gold is tested by putting them in the fire; The purity of human hearts is tested by giving them a little fame.

I have noticed over the years how easy it is for wealth, power and fame to actually change a person from being humble and thankful to being proud and haughty. Does that mean that there is something wrong with wealth, power and fame? Absolutely not! Each of these things could be a gift from God.

However, in the case of our text one’s heart is tested by these things in order that one will know one’s weaknesses…God already knows.

Over the years I have heard people say, “Why do they have all the good luck and I have none…I am better than they are?” In the first place it is probably not luck at all, but the blessings of the Lord. In the second place I am not sure that one being better than another is even a consideration to God. He looks at their heart…not their gifting.

Moses is a prime example of that because he had absolutely nothing to contribute toward his calling or his success except for his ability to hang on to God with all his might.

I have studied first generation Christian millionaires for years and for the most part their wealth did not change their core values. Their lifestyles may have changed, but they did not. That means that when the “purity of their heart was tested”…they passed the test and false pride was never allowed in.

Many years ago as a young evangelist I also had a business that helped support the ministry. I once had a man working for me who was absolutely excellent in his job and seemed to be a real forward thinker. I saw a potential in this man for leadership, so after a while I promoted him into a management position. However, almost immediately after his promotion false pride came in (or was uncovered) and this excellent worker turned out to be a mean-spirited individual to everyone. His new position (or fame) completely changed him and he failed miserably.

His failure was not because of the lack of gifting, but because he could not handle his new found “fame.” In other words the gifting was there all along, but when the “purity of his heart was tested by giving him a little fame” he failed the test because of a lack of maturity.

I thought a lot about this man over the years and wondered how he could have failed so badly. I also thought about myself and why I did not see his potential weakness before the promotion.

As a result, I have come to the conclusion that no one is totally immune from failing the “fame” test. The strength of each man determines the severity of his test.

I realize that some fail the “fame or pride” test sooner than others, but all of us are in need of Your help. Help each of us to reach up to those who are stronger than we are while reaching down to lend a helping hand to those who are weaker. Our desire is to do as Paul said in Romans 15, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”


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