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Topic: Fame (05/10/12)
TITLE: The Works that Endure
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The modern-day mantra of our media-saturated society has come to echo the lyrics of the popular Irene Cara song, “Fame”: “Remember my name: Fame! I’m gonna live forever—I’m gonna learn how to fly…” Our culture has come to believe that unless our name is known by the masses, our lives are insignificant. This mindset has even subtly seeped into Christian thinking, and into the world of the Christian artist and writer. We’ve come to equate celebrity status with God’s favor upon a person’s life and ministry, while those unknown but faithful servants are viewed as irrelevant in the kingdom.
Popular Christian broadcasts include guests who are recognized because they’ve published a number of books and produced several music CDs. Christian publishing houses are reluctant to accept a manuscript unless it is written by an author who is already well-known. Artists enter the Christian Music Industry with the desire to be on stage before thousands. Authors write with the goal of releasing a best-seller. Those who serve behind the scenes are left wondering if their lives really matter because they are not recognized or honored as someone who is truly making an impact.
The Biblical view of fame is so radically different from our modern definition. Many of the Bible characters who are now well-known endured suffering and scorn that would not measure up to current celebrity standards. They were taunted, ridiculed, chastised and persecuted. These were not Christian celebrities—they were Christian heroes. In present times, we tend to seek significance by pursuing our own glory. The Biblical mindset, however, is to lay down our lives so others can live.
Consider Boaz, who willingly endangered his own inheritance to honor the inheritance of another (Ruth 4:6). Those who witnessed his sacrifice said of him: “May he become famous throughout Israel!” (Ruth 4:14). Boaz did not know that in laying down his life, he was paving the way for the Savior to come through his own line. While not pursuing fame, Boaz has become famous for his sacrificial act. As we use our gifts, we need to forsake the pursuit of our own glory that others may be blessed.
Our goal as Christian artists and writers should be to make God’s name famous in all the world, to bring others to know him deeply and truly, and to inspire others to fulfill their God-given calling in life. Whether or not we become well-known through the use of our gifts should be inconsequential to us. We simply need to be faithful and obedient to what God has called us to do, without being blinded by the desire to see our name in lights.
It is interesting to note that many of the hymns that are now so popular in the church were not well-known until years after the death of the author. “Be Thou My Vision” is a hymn that has touched countless lives, yet its author remains unknown and its words were not sung until centuries after they were written. The author set out to pour his heart out to God in the form of a prayer, not to write an award-winning, world-famous hymn. While God has used the works of many modern day artists and writers to impact this generation, there are many such works that are mere shooting stars—fading in glory as tastes and trends change. The works that endure are those written with a humble, sacrificial heart untainted by the lust for personal glory.
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