The idolatry of greatness & how it’s ruining your life


“There’s an epidemic running through this country. It’s subtle and quiet and often cleverly disguised as ‘The American Dream.  It’s the idolatry of greatness,” says blogger Kayse Pratt.  In our self-centered culture most people are caught up in wanting to be somebody special. even great.  And Christians are not exempt from this. Kayse demonstrates how the idolatry of greatness could be ruining your life.  She begins…

I’m writing this post with my thumb. On my phone. While I watch the sixth episode of Leap Frog today.

(By the way, when people hear Emmy read, they assume I am a very impressive parent. But I’m here to tell you, about 95% of the credit for her reading skills goes to Leap Frog. Let’s keep it real, people.)

Anyway, the kids woke up at 5am today, so of course Nathan fell asleep on his lunch this afternoon. I mean he literally fell asleep on top of his peanut butter and honey sandwich. He then woke up in his high chair with some kind of bad dream, so here we are in the rocking chair, watching Leap Frog, while I type with my thumb.

Last week I think the whole world listened to Andy Stanley declare that deciding to attend any church other than a mega-church was selfish and therefore sinful. It was a ridiculous and unbiblical thing to say, and luckily I think the whole world also recognized that.

(He has since given an apology, so he clearly recognized his fault, too.)

Jon showed me the video a few days ago, and I shook my head in disbelief, because honestly. It was just a little absurd. Surely Christ is working and moving through churches of all sizes, pastors of all congregations. Surely size has little to no bearing on the eternal value of a church, & its effectiveness in sharing the gospel. Surely each part of the body is valuable and essential to the growth of Christ’s kingdom as a whole.

But Andy Stanley didn’t recognize or acknowledge the value there. No, instead, he glorified BIG and GREAT and PROGRESSIVE, and actually shamed small.

In the last few days, as his “sermon” has been on my mind, I’m realizing that I do the same thing.

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There’s an epidemic running through this country. It’s subtle and quiet and often cleverly disguised as “The American Dream”.

It’s the idolatry of greatness. And to some extent, we’ve all bought into it.

We, as a culture, are obsessed with becoming great. We work hard to build up a name for ourselves, a “legacy” for our families, a semblance of fame and notoriety. Nothing less is good enough. Nothing less is worth anything at all.

At least that’s what we’re told.

And so, we work hard and stay busy and we ignore relationships and we distance ourselves from our families, all in the name of productivity and work ethic. We inflate our own egos as we surround ourselves with our own accomplishments, and we start thinking that everyone should be a little more like us.

We begin to look down our noses at the “smaller” things. The less notable things. And we start to shame them, even unintentionally.

We say ridiculous things like “If you don’t go to a mega church, you’re selfish.”

Honestly though, that one’s a little extreme. I think this mindset actually comes through more often in subtlety. In the kind of comments that make you question your contentment, like…

“Have you figured out what God has called you to? I’m not talking about your husband and your kids, what’s your REAL ministry?

“You’re such a great __fill in the blank__. Have you ever considered pursuing that as a career? It would be a shame to keep that to yourself. I bet you would be really successful at that.

Is there anything wrong with pursuing a ministry or a career? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Hear me now, there is nothing inherently wrong with pursuing a ministry or career that you are passionate about.   Continue reading


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3 Responses to The idolatry of greatness & how it’s ruining your life

  1. Sola Scriptura March 23, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

    What an excellent topic! it kills me to see all of these christians running around, ditching their families to build these business that are going to burn to the ground at the end. It’s all about pride and power, and churches affirm this. Why? $$$$. Triathlons and marathon training, and all sorts of vain and selfish pursuits are separating families for what?? It will all perish. Paul said it so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 1….God chose the weak and foolish things of the world, not the wise, proud and string…so that no one might boast before him:

  2. C.S. Brownwell March 25, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    We see this idolatry when people refuse to vote because “My vote won’t make a difference.” God has not called us to make a difference. He has called us to do our part.

  3. Lambchop March 29, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    Only one thing you missed: as Christians, we do not believe in “luck” …. you used the word “Luckily” …. no – we don’t go there.