“So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” (2 Samuel 15:6)
It didn’t take much. A chariot, some fanboys, and a daily ploy to convince the people of Israel he was more available than David, and Absalom stole the hearts of the people. Some cunning, some persistence, and they were in his pocket. Were they fans of Yahweh? It didn’t matter. They were fans of his.
Too much work in the name of Christ is conducted in this manner. The hearts of the people fall prey to the manipulative machinations of leaders who crave the praise. Rather than celebrate Christ, these leaders receive celebration. Rather than point others to Jesus, they point people to themselves.
In the service of Christ, we must be careful. Pastors, small group leaders, young adult ministry leaders — you name it — all are tempted to take the glory. All are tempted to steal hearts for themselves. Jesus said, “Follow me.” Only he could say it. Paul said it, but added, “As I follow Christ.” We aim to point people to him.
However, with a little posturing, we are prone to thieve the hearts of God’s people. With some manipulation, we can get people to celebrate us, not Christ. Let it not be. The Son of David should sit on the throne. Let us have nothing to do with diminishing his role or position. He must not be displaced.