Do you remember the old riddle, if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?
This week I have been contemplating the ministry angle of the question: “If ministry happens, and it does not get posted on social media, did it really count?”
When I began serving as a pastor, Jenn and I were still on MySpace. The thought of putting ministry on the internet was unheard of. MySpace was for picking your top 8 friends and telling people what kind of cereal you ate, not humble bragging.
With the rise of social media, we as believers and as churches have caught the wave and realized that we can blast out our message and our good deeds to our 2000 closest friends.
With the rise of social media, a new form of “humility” has arisen – humble bragging. Humble bragging is using the calling of God and ministry of the church as a means of calling attention to ourselves.
We say “look at what God did,” or “do you see how many people God brought to church this week,” or “do you see how many people got baptized.”
On the surface we are giving glory to God, but behind the fake adoration, we secretly desire for people to like and adore us.
And humble bragging isn’t just churches. We as people post spiritual sounding updates hoping to curate an image online where we are admired.
Humble bragging does not promote godliness. In fact, it detracts from your holiness. You see, humble bragging further builds the idol of your self image which pride props up. The humble brag does not magnify God. It uses God to magnify you.
When it comes to our righteousness, the Bible tells us to be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them, to not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, and that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. (Mt 6:1, Mt 6:3, Lk 14:11)
Perhaps we as believers and churches will see much more fruitful rewards when we do unseen, unposted, and unheralded good works because we do them for God and not adoration of the humble brag.