Name Dropping and Tiny Pedestals
We’ve all heard our friends and co-workers do it. While you’re in line at Starbucks or waiting for the elevator, you begin talking about last night’s episode of X-Factor and all of sudden it happens. What was seemingly harmless chatter turned into, “I was talking with my cousin yesterday, who’s best friend is the brother of Brad Pitt’s personal trainer, and...”
“let me grab that name you just dropped for you.”
The name drop! Ooooh. It happens more often than we realize. We drop names without even knowing about it. Perhaps next time someone near you drops a name in conversation, you can interrupt him or her, bend over as if to pick something off the ground and say “let me grab that name you just dropped for you.”
I’m sure that in the Christian world we think that we couldn’t possibly ever drop someone's name to get attention. We are all far too humble to do that, aren’t we? Well, I have a theory that Christians actually drop as many, if not more, names than most others! We love to drop speaker's names, or worship leader's names, or even talk about our friend who spent some time at IHOP and happened to end up sitting next to Misty Edwards one time. Or we regale our friends with a story of a missions trip in Mozambique somewhere, where the team leader was Heidi Baker’s daughter, who was "able to pray for me".
I’m as guilty as anyone for dropping a name or two. Or ten.
Growing up as the son of a pastor at a world famous church didn’t exempt me from this plague that is sweeping the world. I’ve had the great honor to meet many leaders, speakers and worshippers from all over the world. I’m as guilty as anyone for dropping a name or two. Or ten. In fact, once, I had someone name-drop my own name in front of me! My brother and I were hanging around after a conference, and a woman began to chat to us, telling us how she was best friends with Jon and Chris Long, who are Steve and Sandra’s sons. She told us how she supposedly would hang with them, and how fun it was to know them. Needless to say my brother and I saved the girl some embarrassment by not revealing our true identities, but recently remembering that moment started me thinking about the motives behind name-dropping.
Why do we do it? Why is it that we often put people on tiny pedestals in our minds? Maybe we walk out of a good conference or an amazing service and want to attach ourselves to the lives of those that spoke the message. Maybe we want all our friends to know how amazing we must be to have been in the same room as a famous speaker, or to have had a conversation with a famous recording artist. Why do we name-drop?
I was recently on the Catch The Wave Cruise and in one of his talks (please excuse the name-drop) Reinhard Bonnke said the following, “People ask me all the time, for me to pray for them to get my anointing. My answer is always the same. No. If you get my anointing, then I won’t have mine anymore. What I will pray is that God will give the anointing he has for you, and the vision that he has for you.”
We need to be inspired by the amazing stories of others.
There is nothing wrong with having a few spiritual heroes in life, or even heroes in general. We need to be inspired by the amazing stories of others; how their accomplishments have helped to shape the world around them. There is nothing wrong with the occasional name drop. I think all humans love a good story, and as much as we hate to admit it, love to hear stories about well-known or famous people.
What I think we need to stay away from is seeing those people as God. Every speaker you’ve ever heard has been given a thought, a revelation, or a new perspective from God. They are using their God given gifts to deliver His message to you, and they have many stories about the process of walking out their journey. God speaks to them, just as he speaks to the rest of us. The only difference is that they may have learned to listen a little better. God is God. We shouldn't let ourselves put other people in the way of a personal relationship with Him. Let God talk to you, let Him lead you. Let Him share the secrets of the universe with you, and breathe life on your calling. Let’s be inspired by others, but be careful to not put a person in the place of God.
So I’ll end with this. The next time you catch yourself dropping a name, or putting someone on a pedestal, ask God to remind you of how awesome He is. Let that moment inspire you to take time to press into Him. Ask Him to speak to you, or even better, ask him to open your ears to hear what He is already telling you.