Seeming to be Somewhat

Seeming to be Somewhat

Words of Faith 5-15-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 2

       [6] As for those who seemed to be important--whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance--those men added nothing to my message.  


     Paul gives us an interesting perspective on being a "respecter of men." He makes it clear in this chapter that there was substantial agreement and endorsement from the well known Apostolic leaders in Jerusalem. But at the same time, Paul wanted to clarify that he regarded God’s opinion more highly than any human opinion, no matter how great their reputation among people. It is an important point not to be missed.

       Paul was rather blunt here without being insulting or derisive. "Whatever they were makes no difference to me." Being one of the Twelve or having been present at the Pentecost is a privilege, but not a badge of honor. God does not judge them to be more important, and they did not add to the Gospel Paul was preaching.

       Paul never suggested that the Apostolic leaders in Jerusalem were self-important, but he clearly bristled at the way they were regarded by the infiltrators and critics. We, humans, have a tendency to elevate individual humans as though they have some authority in and of themselves. For Paul, this simply was not so. Whether we become enamored with religious rank or spiritual celebrity, we can fall into the trap of looking to certain men and women as dispensing the endorsement of God.

       For Paul, such human rankings are always put into perspective by the cross. In fact, Paul argued in his letter to the Philippians that if anyone had a reason to boast of their religious achievements it would be him. But instead, Paul understood that even given the profound revelations he had received from God he was only strong when he was weak. He called religious achievements "rubbish."

       This is why Paul referred to the most visible Christian leaders in the world as "those who seem to be important." The KJV translates this phrase "those who seem to be somewhat." It is a curious phrase but a sobering corrective on all accounts.

       We know that there are those in our Christian culture who are lifted up as important and of the highest reputation and deserving of respect but in reality, they only "seem to be somewhat."

       The truth that Paul reminds us of is that we are all sinners in need of grace. We are all frail humans capable of error and failure. While there may be needed authority designated within the function of the church, Christ is always the head of the church and no one else.

       We have seen those who "seem to be somewhat" often either fail in their unimportance or drift into self-importance. We have seen that leaders held in the highest regard can fall from such esteemed places. We do well to recognize the clay feet of both our leaders and ourselves.

       We also do well to recognize that there are some who "seem to be important" but they are not-- at least they are certainly no more important than anyone else in God's plan and agenda. There are no "important converts" or "important Christians" or "important leaders" or "important members." In fact, Jesus pointed out that if you do some act of love to the "least of these" you have done so unto Him.

       Perhaps the most crucial point here is to recognize our own self-importance when it arises. We may realize it when we feel "snubbed" or "overlooked" or if we resent that our opinion was not asked concerning a decision. It is a good point at which to reflect upon the life of Jesus, who being in very nature God took the form of a servant. His divinity was snubbed and overlooked in ways that boggle the mind.

       It is easy to drift to a place where we "seem to be somewhat" at least in our own opinions. The old phrase "he is a legend in his own mind" has a wake-up ring to it. We may become self-assured that our opinion is always the right one or that others should necessarily bend to our way. But if we ask, the Holy Spirit will point out when we "seem to be somewhat" in our own minds.


       Father God, keep me focused on Jesus. Give me correct respect for leaders and elders You have appointed in my life, but keep me focused on You. Protect me from the delusion of self-importance. Protect Your church from the delusion of celebrity status. Bring Your people to bended knee before the cross. Give a spirit of thanksgiving. In Jesus' Name.


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