Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kix, Politics, & Approval

How many of us remember the Kix ad with the tagline, "Kid tested, mother approved?" I always felt good about getting Kix for my kids because it was basically healthy, low in sugar etc., not because of the cereal's motto, though I did as a mother approve.

We see political ads ad nauseum at this time of year and we hear plenty of "My name is [insert your favorite (or least favorite) candidate's name] and I approve of this message." One does get some sense of credibility in hearing that statement. At least the candidate knows what's being said of him/her.

One of this morning's lectionary readings was from 1 Thessalonians 2 where Paul is defending his ministry. As I was prayerfully reading this, what particularly struck me was these few words "approved by God." It is God's approval that Paul could look to in defense of his work, his concern: "pleas[ing] God who tests our hearts."

And me? I have a rather high need for approval of others. I may not show it outwardly, but it is there. When a couple of friends weren't comfortable doing a Leadership Trait Questionnaire for my Leadership: Creating Shared Vision class, all I could think of was how bad my traits must be that they would be uncomfortable completing it. Ray thought I was overreacting, which is probably true, but we all like praise.

How can we be effective leaders or pastors of God's people if we keep seeking the approval of others whether they be mothers, candidates or parishioners? I don't know about you, but I want to be God approved, with "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Mt 25:23) being all I need to hear. Lord in your mercy...hear our prayer.

Picture courtesy of Geocities.


Andy said...

Okay, deep thought. I wonder how much our craving for approval of people is a washed-out remnant of that "imago dei" our first parents reflected in the Garden? Somehow we know there is a longing for approval, not based on performance, but on identity. Missing it from God (or, in believers' cases, missing the understanding of it we have from God), we pursue the approval of others just as fallen as we are.

If only we knew how greatly He longs for us to know how much He delights in us...

Andy Wood

Steve Martin said...

Great article!

In my opinion, one of the biggest problems in the church is the desire to be liked.

It softens that sharp edge that is God's Law and His Gospel. It molds us into a something comfortable, in the middle mushy.

The proclamation of God's Law and his Gospel requires a good and faithful God, first and foremost.

You wants friends more than anything...join the rotary club.


- Steve

Ivy said...

Andy, I think you're on to something there. If we know deep in our hearts who we are as God's beloved, it doesn't matter what anyone else says about us. This is something God has been trying to convince me of. Last month I wrote about it in a post entitled "Who Am I?" But, to let it sink in is difficult. More transforming time in his presence is the key.


Ivy said...

Steve, thank you for your comments. You're so right. The old Adam (or Eve)lives. A good friend refers to churches of the "comfortable, in the middle mushy" variety as the "church of the warm fuzzies." That kind of motivation certainly leads to a theology of glory, doesn't it?