And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be
pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Galatians 2:9
The New Oxford dictionary defines a “pedestal” as: “the base or support on which a statue, obelisk or column is mounted. A position in which someone is greatly or uncritically admired.”
The New Oxford dictionary defines a “pillar” as: “a tall vertical structure of wood, stone or metal, used as a support for a building. A person or thing regarded as reliably providing essential support for something.”
A further look into how these two words weave themselves into the church is worth further inspection and investigation.
Let’s take a peek at how they each differ in function, purpose and meaning.
1) Pedestals are used to lift people up. Pillars are used to lift churches up.
2) Pedestals are used to put individuals on display. Pillars are used to put God on display.
3) Remove a pedestal and one person is affected. Remove a pillar and everyone is affected.
4) Pedestals are only useful when looked upon by others. Pillars are just as useful when no one sees them.
5) Remove a pedestal and no one notices. Remove a pillar and everyone notices.
6) Pedestals will not move by themselves. Pillars cannot move by themselves.
7) Pedestals provoke trouble. Pillars prevent trouble.
As the opening scripture reveals, the early church had their share of spiritual pillars.
Unfortunately, the church also had its dealings with pedestals:
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
III John 1:9-10
May we work on getting ourselves “out of God’s way” and only allow His glory to shine through us.
A man of God said the following powerful words in addressing so-called “pedestals” and “pillars” in the church:
“The definition of false ministry is me using God to change people’s opinion of me. (a pedestal)
“The definition of true ministry is God using me to change people’s opinion of Him.” (a pillar)
What true and powerful statements.
“Lord, in your eyes am I a Pillar or am I a Pedestal? And dear Jesus, it does not so much matter what I look like on the outside. Only that it is you they see shining through from the inside”.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:3-4