Nobody likes name droppers. You know who I’m talking about. Those people who want you to know that they know people that you probably want to know. When I think “namedropper,” there’s one guy that immediately comes to mind. I’ve only met him a handful of times, but every time we’ve talked, half of our conversation is taken up with blatant name drops.
He knows a good number of “big time” people, and he has an absurd ability to sneak those names into any conversation. Here’s an example. I say, “Hey man, what time is it?” His reply: “Oh, it’s about noon. Reminds me of that time I played putt putt with Michael Jackson at noon in Paris.” Word?
Honestly, it’s not just name droppers that irk us though. It’s people who brag in general. We get tired of hearing grown men brag about their high school football days (it’s time to move on, sir). We grow weary of our privileged friends that find some way to tweet about every exotic place they visit. And we don’t have much patience for people who detail for us every expensive item they purchase (unless they’re rappers, of course). Whether it’s covertly bragging about who you know, or unashamedly pointing out all your accomplishments, bragging just isn’t cool.
Simply put, to brag is to “talk boastfully.” And all of us have been guilty of it at some point. It always provokes an eye roll when others do it – so why do we still take part in it ourselves?
Bragging happens when you have something (or do something) so amazing that you think everyone needs to know about it. And not only do they need to know about it, they need to recognize how awesome you are for having (or doing) it. If we’re honest with ourselves, we name drop and humble brag to our friends because we think it makes us look good. And that’s exactly why it’s wrong.
The problem isn’t that what you’re bragging about isn’t great. It might be. The problem is that the end goal isn’t so great. Anything you do for the sake of personal glory is sin.
Scripture speaks pretty strongly about this kind of boastful talk. One example is in 1 Corinthians 4:7, in which Paul asks, “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” He’s basically saying, “Everything you have was given to you. So why would you brag when all you did was accept a gift?”
Each boastful word we utter is a shot aimed directly at our Maker. Every good thing comes from Him, which means none of us can take the credit for it. All the glory in the Universe belongs to God, but we’re constantly trying to keep some for ourselves. In the academic world, taking credit for someone else’s work is called plagiarism. In the real world, it’s called bragging.
Well that settles it then, right? Never, ever brag!
I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Not only do I think you should brag sometimes, I think it’s what you were created to do. Let me explain.
Remember, the root of bragging is thinking something you have is so amazing that everyone needs to know about it. Those of us who’ve been redeemed by Jesus do have something to brag about – God Himself. If we know God, we should be so blown away by Him that we feel compelled to proclaim His excellencies to others (1 Pet. 2:9). He’s too great to keep to ourselves. Jeremiah 9:23-24 sums it up well.
This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.
If you know God, I want you to brag. But when you do, don’t let it be in your wisdom, or your strength, or your riches. Instead, brag about His. Boast in the fact that you know the One with perfect wisdom, all-powerful strength, and never ending riches of grace. Instead of using your words to acquire your own fame, use them to show off His.
The Universe is like a display case for God’s glory. The Earth was created to show His power. Trees were formed to flaunt His beauty. Animals were crafted to point to His greatness. And you? You were built to brag on Him. So if you do drop a name, let it be His.