SDAs are placing much focus today on the recognition of accomplishments, education, and careers with congratulatory awards in the form of articles, certificates, plaques, medals, trophies, badges, and pins. While we are to always do our best in everything, we are never to seek recognition. What does God’s Word tell us about this subject?
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 486
He who regards the favor of men as more desirable than the favor of God will fall under the temptation to sacrifice principle for worldly gain or recognition. Thus fidelity to God is constantly being sacrificed.
Ye Shall Receive Power, Ellen G. White, p. 209
Our object in working for the Master should be that His name may be glorified in the conversion of sinners. Those who labor to gain applause are not approved of God.
This Day With God, p. 270
We are not to engage in any employment or enterprise to gain the praise or honor of men.
Our High Calling, p. 184
We must realize that we are in Christ's school, not to learn how we may esteem ourselves, how we shall conduct ourselves so as to receive honor of men, but how we may cherish the meekness of Christ. Self and selfishness will be ever striving for the mastery. It is a fight we must have with ourselves, that self shall not have the victory.
A Call to Stand Apart, p. 65
To seek for self-recognition, for self-glorification, will leave the human agent destitute of the Spirit of God, destitute of that grace which will make him a useful, efficient worker for Christ.
Because there is an abundance of SDA news on honors and awards, which has already been shown in this chapter, included below is another sampling.
On April 29, 2008, Adventist News Network featured “Review of Adventist flagship journal turns out awards.” The Adventist Review continues to win awards for its “noteworthy articles and Web site design” from the Associated Church Press (ACP) during the group's annual convention. “The Review has taken home similar awards since it first submitted material to the ACP in 1987.” The Canadian Union Messenger “received two awards of excellence and a merit award for a two-part piece.” Notice that the Adventist Review submitted the material. Why would an SDA institution seek to receive awards?
The May 28, 2009 issue of the Adventist Review included an article entitled “Review Redesign Reaps Rewards, Renown.” It discussed how it was “honored with two top awards” by the ACP during a banquet. Also honored was the Canadian Adventist Messenger and Ministry magazine.
Again, the Adventist Review for June 10, 2010 featured “Adventist Review Garners Seven Associated Church Press Awards,” which were received on May 8, 2010 at the ACP convention. A photo was included of two Adventist Review editors standing proudly on either side of Cokie Roberts, the “veteran National Public Radio correspondent” who was a keynote speaker at the convention. Ministry magazine was also recognized as receiving an award.
In October 2009, Adventist World depicted an individual receiving the biannual NAD Distinguished Service Award in the form of a very large plaque. The person was awarded for “hard work and dedication” to Adventist Single Adult Ministries. How did that make the other singles feel who did not receive a plaque?
Additional Adventist Review articles showed the following information:
- “Jan Paulsen Honored at Loma Linda University” with the Presidential Medal.
- Heather Knight received a “medallion of office as president” of Pacific Union College.
- Hundreds of SDAs gathered at Centennial Olympic Park (across from the 2010 SDA General Conference session) for the Adventist Race for Health. “More than 100 trophies were handed out to runners, many of whom were not Adventists.”
...and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.
Faith for Today’s Lifestyle Magazine received two Telly Awards at the 22nd Annual Telly Awards and the Gold Award at the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival.
It Is Written received 32 Angel Awards from the Excellence in Media organization, with two Gold Angels presented to George Vandeman. Twelve statuettes have been received from the Telly Awards since 2002, including the Silver Telly in 2006. A few awards were received from the Aurora Awards between 2002 and 2006.
The Loma Linda University website included an article under “News and Events” entitled “Loma Linda University sweeps its categories at Emmy Awards.” A photo included the two young women who won LLU’s first Emmy Awards. They are pictured dressed Hollywood style holding their trophies. Why would an SDA university want to be involved in Emmy Awards?
Conflict and Courage, p. 212
The custom of offering praise to men is one that results in great evil. One praises another, and thus men are led to feel that glory and honor belong to them. When you exalt man, you lay a snare for his soul, and do just as Satan would have you.... God alone is worthy to be glorified.
Christian Leadership, p. 45
Men are only men whatever may be their work. The more responsible the position, the more important that the one who stands in this position have no more honor or exaltation given him than is for his good. In fact, people are ruined through praise and honor bestowed upon them as though they were infallible. While due respect should be given to those whom God has entrusted with more than ordinary talents, that man thus endowed needs to walk more humbly and closely with God as he advances.
The Review and Herald, March 15, 1892
Praise and flattery of one another is forbidden in the Scriptures. It is an offense to God, and is an injury both to him who gives and him who receives praise. It is a snare to them; for it separates the soul from God.
The Youth’s Instructor, December 6, 1900
The life of Christ is to be our pattern. His life and work in the world are a sample of what our life and work should be. "I receive not honor of men," he said. In his service we need not expect ease of worldly honor; for the Majesty of heaven did not receive these things. "He was despised and rejected of men."
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 80
Those who desire words of praise and flattery, and feed upon them as a sweet morsel, are Christians in name only.
Sons and Daughters of God, p. 132
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. Luke 2:52
It was the simplicity of the life of Christ, and His freedom from pride and vanity, that gave Him favor with God and man. He did not seek to attract attention for distinction.
Prophets and Kings, p. 458
I dare not disregard the commands of God because of the fear or favor of man. I love the truth, I hate sin, and I will follow the counsel of the Mighty One of Israel.
Education, p. 117
Talent is too much idolized, and station too much coveted. There are too many who will do nothing unless they are recognized as leaders; too many who must receive praise, or they have no interest to labor. What we need to learn is faithfulness in making the utmost use of the powers and opportunities we have, and contentment in the lot to which Heaven assigns us.
Manuscript Releases, Vol. 16, p. 218
Our brethren separate themselves from God, by reason of the homage they give to human beings. They may esteem themselves, they may esteem others, and look to themselves and to others with that confidence which should be given to the Lord of Israel. The remedy for these things is the heartfelt belief of Bible truth, taking the plainest declaration of the Scriptures. There is great need for all who are placed in positions of trust, who have an influence over other minds, to take heed that, in their positions of trust, they do not prove to be agents through whom the enemy can work, to the detriment of souls. If the weak brother perish, the blood of his soul will be required at your hand.
Education, p. 93
At the ordination of the Twelve the disciples had greatly desired that Judas should become one of their number, and they had counted his accession an event of much promise to the apostolic band. He had come more into contact with the world than they, he was a man of good address, of discernment and executive ability, and, having a high estimate of his own qualifications, he had led the disciples to hold him in the same regard. But the methods he desired to introduce into Christ's work were based upon worldly principles and were controlled by worldly policy. They looked to the securing of worldly recognition and honor--to the obtaining of the kingdom of this world. The working out of these desires in the life of Judas, helped the disciples to understand the antagonism between the principle of self-aggrandizement and Christ's principle of humility and self-sacrifice--the principle of the spiritual kingdom. In the fate of Judas they saw the end to which self-serving tends.
We do not need to go to each other or the world to give or receive praise. Sadly, this desire is widespread in our institutions and has been for quite some time. We are doing others a dishonor by honoring them. We must learn to improve ourselves and work for God without self-praise in mind. The praise, honor, and glory must not go to ourselves, but to God.
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 318
Sad will be the retrospect in that day when men stand face to face with eternity. The whole life will present itself just as it has been. The world's pleasures, riches, and honors will not then seem so important.
Ibid., p. 374
And better than all the words of earthly praise will be the Saviour's words to His faithful servants, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Matthew 25:34.
My Life Today, p. 326
The wounds and scars of our warfare will be to us, as to Paul, the trophies of victory.