I recently had a discussion with a friend and colleague in ministry about whether being a christian “rock-star” is a good place to be. It is a subject that I have gnawed at for quite a long time. It started about seven years ago when I was watching an episode of the television show, Law and Order, in which the lead character made this statement. “The world nowadays is more interested in pursuing fame than seeking after virtue.” As he said that, deep within my spirit I felt these words very clearly; “And that is true for the Church as well.”
It rattled me for a long time because it was true. Around me I saw too many christians scrambling for recognition and not nearly as many making it a priority to seek after virtue.
I have since spent many hours, weeks, months and even years digging into the scripture to understand “virtue”. It is a very powerful word and I would strongly recommend a study on this (and of course the subsequent life application.)
I have also kept a weary eye on the “famous”. Here are some things I have concluded:
- Being famous or recognized is not sinful or wrong. Fame should however be kept in perspective. If someone is recognized because of an ability to do something well, then by all means admire that ability. The fact that they can, for example, sing well and this makes them famous does not automatically translate into them being the smartest person in the room. We too easily emulate and aspire to “the famous” for no reason. Often times they are indecent, cruel, reckless and display no good sense. Fame does not equal intelligence or good character. Let’s not be easily fooled by the marketing schemes of the famous and their agents.
- Every Christian can be virtuous but every Christian will not be famous. God never sets before us goals that are unattainable. If we make being recognized our goal, we are more likely than not going to fail. How awful it must be to constantly feel like you are failing – not famous yet, not famous enough, not on the A list, not as famous as so-and-so. On the other hand, seeking after virtue is something that every one of us can attain.
- Every Christian can be successful. In our field of expertise, are we seeking recognition or are we seeking to be excellent at what we do? There is a big difference. Making it to the top spots of recognition does not necessarily mean we are the best or even good at what we do. Sometimes it simply means we are the best at making ourselves known. God requires from us to serve this world with excellence, to grow in our gifting, to add virtue to virtue. When we do this, we are successful. The most obscure christian in the tiniest village in the most remote part of the world can be as successful in God’s eyes as a leader from the most famous church on the planet. Of course we should always give honor where honor is due and we all deserve a “well done” when we have done well. This is different from seeking the spot light.
For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sin. – 2 Peter 1: 5-9