The Difference between Gospel Acclaim and Being Famous for the Gospel

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Colossians 4:7–9 NRSV

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts; he is coming with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.

CONSIDER THIS

Have you heard of Tychicus?

I’ve always thought of these closing greetings in Paul’s letters as the honorable mentions section. Honestly, I’ve paid little to no attention to the names. It’s always felt to me like Paul was giving props to his posse or a shout-outs to his entourage. I guess it’s cool if you were Tychicus’s uncle or something. Honorable mention in the bible is no small thing.

Let me tell you a little bit about Tychicus. It turns out he was a rock star in his own right. We have it on good evidence Tychicus was one of “the Seventy,” the group of disciples Jesus sent out in Luke 10. Yes, Tychicus knew the Jesus. He was a direct disciple. He could have made a career out of that social capital, only there were no ministry careers in those days. So, he went to jail with Paul and carried his mail and whatever else needed to be done to move the movement forward. Though he was not famous for the gospel, nor ever shall he be, he was a person of gospel acclaim.

There’s gospel acclaim and then there’s being famous for the gospel. People who are famous for the gospel are a dime a dozen. No one’s name gets mentioned in the New Testament because they wrote a viral blog post or authored a best-selling book or pastored a megachurch.

We live in the Kardashian age of marketing machines, where people become famous for simply being famous. It’s not limited to Hollywood reality TV. The ministry is rife with fame hounds. We clickbait our way to a viral blog post. We write books and become YouTube stars. We are famous for the gospel without any real gospel acclaim. We haven’t been in jail with the apostle Paul or beaten within an inch of our life for our faith or otherwise buried our lives like seeds in some forgotten ghetto in Memphis.

In the scheme of things, very few people will ever be famous for the gospel. It’s unfortunate how in the present age those are the people who get all the press and they tend to be the people we look to. The beauty of the gospel is that anyone can receive gospel acclaim—which means literally “to shout.” Gospel acclaim is the shout of heaven, and it happens every time someone reckons with Domino #3/3—“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3)—and tips Domino #3|1—“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).

These days, the church would be better served if we knew a lot more names like Tychicus. We need to make it our business to find out the name of someone who was martyred last week, the young woman’s name who left for Tanzania after college to translate the Bible into a language yet to be written down, the name of the farmer who loaned too much money to his workers without expectation of repayment, and the name of the woman who works at the corner coffee shop who quietly serves people more like a shepherd than a barista.

Let’s call Domino #4/7 Tychicus, one who is small in stature with massive tipping effect.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is the gospel’s acclaim. Train us to follow him and all those he acclaims. Save me from the seduction of seeking fame, and steer me clear of following the merely famous. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Who comes to your mind when you think of a person of gospel acclaim? From the past? From your present?
  2. What is it about fame that is so seductive to our present age?
  3. What would it look like for you to set your sights on the hidden glory of gospel acclaim— to hear the shout of heave?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

3 COMMENTS

  1. J D, you’re so correct in stating that there are untold numbers of Gospelers who’s names we will never know on this side of the consummation of the kingdom. Some examples would be the scattered believers following the stoning of Stephen, who shared the Gospel along the way, that led to the planting of churches in places like Antioch and Rome. These folks are known as the “good and faithful servants” who are now in the presence of the Lord. We may not know them, but we can be certain Jesus knows them.
    Today, even like it was back in Jesus’s time on earth, there were men who did good works for God, so they could receive the praises of men. Like Solomon once wrote: “ there’s really nothing new under the sun.”
    To become a person who sets their sights on the “hidden glory of Gospel acclaim—to hear the shout of heaven “; I would have to have complete confidence that it was clearly the voice of God that I heard, and then to pray for sufficient grace to respond in true obedience, regardless of the cost.

  2. Fame
    Shouldn’t go
    To people who proclaim
    The Gospel under their own name
    But only to the One who is proclaimed.

    The living Jesus needs to be front and center–Christ alone, Cornerstone! God said that He will share His glory with no man. How can a true ministry to proclaim Jesus carry a preacher’s name? Self-heralding is not Gospel preaching! Every Christ-follower is called to be a “fellow servant in the Lord”–to proclaim the Gospel in a dark world and demonstrate the reality of Gospel by serving one another in holiness and loving their enemies.

  3. I’m going to zero in on just one of your questions…who comes to your mind when you think of a person of gospel acclaim?

    The person I’m thinking of just happens to span the past and the present. His life lasted 85 years with over 60+ years in ministry. He went home to be with Jesus today, Wednesday, May 25th at about 3:30 this afternoon with just a few family members nearby. I had the distinct privilege of being there because he just happens to be my wife’s dad – his “girl” as he called her today. They had “something special”, he said, because she was his only daughter.

    He was in every sense of the word a shepherd pastor who cared deeply about the people entrusted to his care wherever he was called to preach. Due to health reasons, he had to “retire” from being a full-time pastor at the age of 80, but he continued “preaching” five days a week through a daily radio program called “Keys to Family Living” that aired for 25-1/2 years. The last program aired just a week and a half ago on May 16th. He fought a good fight. He was faithful to His God and his wife, he loved his family, he loved the Bible, he preached the gospel, he witnessed, he handed out tracts, and he prayed – oh, how he prayed and prayed and prayed! He will be GREATLY missed.

    His name is Jack Palmer. May God richly bless his legacy and the preaching he did in his small corner of the world for so long. May it continue to bear much fruit to the honor of God’s name.

    I love you Pop Pop! Thank you for living such an exemplary life. May God raise up many more just like you and Tychicus. You didn’t do what you did for fame or money. You did it all because you loved your Savior. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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