Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there.”
There’s a sense in which we all want to be popular. We all want to be liked, included, and appreciated. Some people even go to great lengths to make sure that people like them, but becoming popular can be costly – particularly when it’s at the expense of doing what is right.
Amos’ story is an interesting one because he was simply a shepherd who was called by God to become a prophet. As you might imagine, becoming the Lord’s prophet in a land that disregarded the Lord was not going to win Amos any popularity points with the masses. To the contrary, Amos was despised because he honestly reported what God asked him to say.
Such is the fate of all who seek to serve the Lord. Jesus encouraged his followers in Matthew 5:11, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” The implication was that following him would result in losing popularity points.
Now let’s be clear: people didn’t hate Amos because Amos himself was so offensive; they hated him because of the message that he delivered. There’s a lesson to be learned in that, if you are a follower of Jesus, people shouldn’t hate you because you yourself are obnoxious. Jesus warned that his followers would be persecuted because of him… not because they themselves were offensive.
Following Jesus isn’t for those who would prefer pursuing popularity over doing what’s right. To the contrary, it’s for those who are willing to sacrifice popularity for doing what’s right.
Lord, help me to remember that following You can be costly. Keep me from being afraid to do what’s right for fear that I will be disliked or ridiculed. Instead, let me faithfully follow You regardless of the cost.