The Price We Pay for Showing Off (the Wrong Way)

It’s that time of the year when all of us are driven (or rather running) to have the best, look the best and be the best. Christmas and New Year’s are indeed two occasions celebrated worldwide with great pomp and show. To some extent, it is justified cause old things are passing away (literally), and new things are taking their place, and yet, once the grand display is over, one is often left wondering- was it indeed worth it?

Born in a Manger Among Shepherds and Sheep

I often wonder what Jesus would have to say about the way we celebrate His “supposed” birthday (as per the Jewish calendar, it should be in March, yet that’s a different subject altogether). The King of Kings was born in a manger[1] (quite possibly surrounded by animal poo), and the first people to visit Him were not governors and emperors but socially ostracized shepherds[2]. Among unclean animals and outcast men, the Son of God lay wrapped in swaddling clothes.

So much pomp for the King of the universe. And yet, everything about Jesus is so beautiful and brilliant.

Another “great” King

Hezekiah was one of the greatest kings of Judah[3], unlike any of the others before or after him. During his reign, there was peace and prosperity, and God blessed him in all that he did,[4] for he put his trust in God. Even a vast army of Assyrian soldiers was killed by the angel of God[5] when they rose against Hezekiah and his people. God even extended Hezekiah’s life by fifteen years[6]. The man was indeed blessed.

But he had his kryptonite.

Marketing Mistakes Made by Hezekiah

Hezekiah received the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

2 Kings 20:13

Any marketing campaign starts with 3 basic questions— “What”, “Who,” and “Why”.

  • What is to be promoted (product/service/idea)
  • Who is it to be promoted to (the audience)
  • Why is to be promoted to them (the intent)

The greatest king of Judah lacked the wisdom of the King of Kings. While Jesus’s obedience to God empowered Him to spend 30 years of His life in anonymity, Hezekiah’s 29 years of popularity in the public eye dimmed his discernment.

Hezekiah was subtly marketing the brand of God. Ultimately, all that he had came from Him. His treasure houses- all the silver, gold and spices- everything that he was so generously showing off was a blessing. God prospered Hezekiah[7]. Period.

Nonetheless, Hezekiah made a fatal marketing mistake. He showed the wrong things to the wrong people and for the wrong reasons!

The result?

When three generations later, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded Judah, he made sure to strip every single piece of gold from the Temple that had been built with so much grandeur by King Solomon[8].   

Joint Heirs with Christ

As believers in Christ and as children of God, we have been blessed with every possible form of blessing (spiritual and material) that enables us to fulfill our purpose and calling both on earth and thereafter. As joint-heirs with Christ, we have unlimited, uninterrupted access to Abba. Every time we call His name, He listens.

No treasure can compare to this beautiful, eternal relationship that we have with Our Father through Christ. And we carry His brand, His name wherever we go, in all that we do and say.

In a layman’s term, we market Him. The stakes are high, as dear as a soul, the obstacles are countless, and yet the returns are eternal. Which is why discernment is required.

Many times we push people, shoving our blessings up their faces, employing aggressive marketing techniques, thinking ourselves to be the Holy Spirit. But, we forget that no heart can be won, no life can be saved by our efforts. It’s by grace, through faith, that we all are saved.

Nonetheless, we have a crucial role to play as witnesses to His love to a lost and broken world.

The Who, The What, and The Why

However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.

2 Chronicles 32:31

The Babylonian envoys knew of Hezekiah’s prosperous reign, which is why they visited him in the first place. It was a great moment for Hezekiah to vouch for the faithfulness of God, the covenant promises that He had kept all the way from Abraham to his generation. And yet, instead of pointing to the Source of his blessing, he boasted in the product. He showed them everything without ever mentioning God!

How many blessings do we forfeit, how many souls do we lose, every time we choose to praise the created instead of worshipping the Creator! Perhaps Hezekiah’s witness would have led the Babylonians to seek God and be blessed by Him directly, instead of stealing and robbing others of their blessings.

God, Our Father, has enough for all. I love how Pastor Joseph Prince puts it- “One man’s blessing does not have to become another man’s curse.” “God doesn’t have to take from you to give to another!”

In Our Father’s house, there is food and more to spare[9]! His well never runs out[10]!

The Season of Eternal Love

Christmas is more than baby Jesus born in a manger. The Son of God came to demonstrate the love of God, all the way from the crib to the cross[11]. His “What, Who, Why” was forever motivated by the love of God. He was blessed to be a blessing, and each time anyone tried to attribute any goodness to Him, He would immediately point them to God[12].

And that is how we are supposed to be. So as we reflect on His faithfulness throughout the year, there would be countless episodes of overabundant goodness and love. Our part is to let the world know about our blessings, but for the right reasons. We are not blessed because we are His favorite. God has no favorites[13].

God has blessed us exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we can hope or imagine[14]. Why?

Because we are His in Christ![15]

[1] Luke 2:7

[2] Luke 2:8

[3] 2 Kings 18:5

[4] 2 Kings 18:7

[5] 2 Kings 19:35

[6] 2 Kings 20:6

[7] 2 Chronicles 32:29

[8] 2 Kings 24:13

[9] Luke15:17

[10] John 4:14

[11] John 3:16

[12] Luke 18:18-20

[13] Romans 2:11-13

[14] Ephesians 3:20

[15] Ephesians 1:3

Leave a Reply