Jim Denison on Status is Fickle but Service Changes the World

Jim Denison is the founder and CEO of the Denison Forum, a nonprofit Christian media organization that comments on current issues through a biblical lens. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.


“Dear Dukes: If you’re looking for a job, we have a new crown for you.” So states an ad by Burger King, which was followed by a tweet: “Harry, this royal family offers part-time positions.”

The company explained: “We found out that the prince and the duchess decided to give up their roles in the royal family and will work to become financially independent. So, we have a proposition for you: Do as thousands of people and take your first steps in the world of work with us. You know that the crown will suit you perfectly.”

Commentators responded that Burger King “won” the Internet for the day.

Before they were famous, Rachel McAdams was employed at McDonald’s for three years, Beyoncé worked in her mother’s hair salon, Johnny Depp sold pens, Eva Mendes served hot dogs at a food court, and Tom Cruise was a bellhop at a hotel.

My first job was at Dairy Queen; perhaps that makes me royalty as well?

WOULD YOU HIRE AN ACTOR TO FIX YOUR PLUMBING?

The fact that Burger King’s offer to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is such effective advertising exposes two problems in our culture.

First, we measure value by status.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20,380 Americans work in the motion picture and video industries. Approximately 3.8 million Americans work in the fast-food industry.

Imagine a world without food-service professionals, or construction workers, or auto mechanics, or electricians. Would you hire an actor to fix your plumbing, or a plumber to star in your next play?

My point is not to disparage or elevate celebrities or plumbers. It is to note that our society depends on multiplied millions of people who do vital jobs we seldom appreciate fully.

The same is true spiritually. Paul likened the church to a body and asked: “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?” (1 Corinthians 12:17).

THE BUS MECHANIC WHO CHANGED MY LIFE

Our second mistake is that we confuse what we do with who we are.

A secular culture has only secular means of measurement. As a result, we come to believe that our worth is found in the money we make, the car we drive, or the social status we acquire.

A prostitute saved the spies of Israel (Joshua 2). A foreigner became an ancestor of the Messiah (Matthew 1:5). Paul’s life was saved by his unnamed nephew (Acts 23:16-22) and later by a Roman soldier (Acts 27:42-44). The apostle wrote seven books of the New Testament after his safe arrival in Rome.

A bus mechanic was instrumental in leading me to Christ. A high school chemistry teacher was my first spiritual mentor. My most important advisor during my first pastorate was a retired farmer.

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Source: Christian Headlines