I met a billionaire today. I am a manager at a successful chain-restaurant that is on the cutting edge of the company. Over the last year, our owner has been given the keys to a one of a kind store that is a test market for the future of how this chain will run its organization. As you would expect, this comes with a lot of attention from the company's Board of Directors. We have had several visits from them over the last few months, but today the CEO of the company was with them. He doesn't visit restaurants unless something big is happening. This man is not only worth over $6 billion but was accompanied by an entourage of highly influential and successful people. As we greeted them at the restaurant, I felt nervous and began to over analyze everything I said and did. In my head, I kept telling myself, "Just be calm" and "They are just like any other guys," or "Don't say anything stupid."
After the whole visit was over, I felt this great sense of relief. I hadn't had an "insert-foot-into-mouth" moment, but was that a good thing? I know that they are just human, and even though they are influential, famous, wealthy, successful, etc. I shouldn't treat them any different than anyone else, and from an outside perspective, you'd probably say I did a good job of that. From a moral position, however, I'd say I failed miserably. Theoretically, most us would agree that we should not show any special treatment to the rich and famous, however, being confronted with such a situation is a different matter. As I shared earlier, I was anxious and nervous about what I said and did. I wanted to leave a good impression. I wanted to be remembered. Make no mistake; this is pride.
When you or I are chiefly concerned about what people think of us, this is sin in its highest fashion and is cause for repentance. It is the elevation of the fear of man and what he thinks of us rather over our fear of God. What do you really value? Let your love for God pour into all of your relationships, regardless of the power dynamics involved, resisting the temptation of drawing your value from man and instead clinging to Christ.
Clayton is a contributor at webasicbible.com as well as a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention. Clayton is currently a graduate student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife currently live in Kentucky.