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Happy New Year! 2020 burst on us with a vivacious energy that bear-hugged a fresh decade. Time for a clean slate.

One barely clears out the Christmas debris, however, when we’re catapulted into the glamor of Awards Season. The Golden Globes commence a bout of highly contested nominations, glitzy red-carpets, and shameless Tinsel-town machinations. It’s a marvel of intrigue, brazen maneuvering and two-faced toadyism only someone part of the conspiracy can truly collude with. The Spectacle is begun.

As I’ve mentioned before, all this audacious brown-nosing and hypocritical stage-rigging doesn’t stop me from enjoying the pageantry of the red carpet just like any other crazed fan pressed up against the barrier, screaming for an autograph. I have my own highly-developed criteria for Best-and-Worst-Dressed, and plenty of opinions about the worthiness of the statues’ final recipients. The Emperor’s new clothes may be the same, but I can still relish the parade.

As much as I may deeply abhor the fake adulation and undeniable idolatry of the entire cinematic culture, Awards Season does illuminate powerful, universal truths about human nature, and not just through the movies themselves. In hyperbolic colors, the Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice, SAGs and Oscar’s showcase the unslakable thirst of the human spirit for acknowledgement, respect and honor. Every soul needs to feel that its' effort, creativity and labor are being appreciated, no matter how basic the level of tasking. The craving for acceptance and esteem is hard-wired into our DNA. We love to be loved, and we can’t help it.

Honor on the human scale is measured in many different forms. For some, it’s the ability to command a King’s ransom in salary or fabulous perks. Maybe it’s a lifestyle of freedom…the ability to work from home or retire early. For others, payback is in the limelight; a position of status envied by all. Then, there are those who prefer to stockpile influence; power brokers at the table who, at the same time, retain precious anonymity. Honor is a tricky, high-stakes game we scramble and scratch our whole lives for, and somehow never quite fill up the tank.

Jesus had a very intense conversation with the glory-mongers of His day…the pharisees. They loved to be the Oscar winners of any assembly, the A-listers of their generation.

I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?

John 5:41-44 Message

These worldly markers of success are what makes laboring in the Kingdom such a challenge at times. There are so few overt rewards. When you are passionate about serving God in the way you’re good at, too often, so little material compensation returns. We invest in what is recognized predominantly on the spiritual plane, so others watching quietly despise us for throwing our lives away. To the secular mind, we’re wasting time with nothing to show for it.

Life cannot fully satiate our honor quotient, because there’s an essential part of our being that is always looking to the Lord for that ultimate fulfillment. This explains why those who labor under the understanding of His love and approval require less recognition from the mouths of men. Somehow, knowing we’re in the bulls-eye centre of His will gratifies us at deep levels. Not that we don’t have our weak moments of feeling like a failure, or getting caught up for a second in one-upmanship games even in the Church.

Last Sunday, I was installed as a licensed minister through the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. This was a development that came about unexpectedly and grew in resolved conviction as the year progressed. I’ve resisted being formally tied to any association due to past history in religious enclaves and the predominating roadblocks regarding women in ministry. To put it bluntly, I was gun-shy. Skittish as a thoroughbred racehorse. So, imagine my surprise when joy burst unexpectedly through my jaded resignation and sang like a diva on the day. I blossomed under the unmistakable sensation of the Lord’s satisfaction. To feel the pleasure of others for me and just revel in a moment of completed accomplishment was sublime indeed.

Nope, it wasn’t the Oscars. But it felt like it.

Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. Proverbs 4:7-8 KJV

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