by Virginia Forste
I’m so glad that posting videos online was fairly new while I was growing up. I’m grateful that it wasn’t around when I blew up like a Macy’s Day Parade balloon after ingesting a peanut in some homemade cookies at camp. I’m pleased there were fewer hidden camera shows when I would randomly run into a wall in my childhood home. And, I’m certainly happy it wasn’t a thing when I hosted one of my first PowerPoint presentations for my school’s Open House Night, in which I had typed “assessments” with one fewer “s’’ in the most unfortunate place. Nowadays, anyone can become famous by simply uploading a video of good or poor acting, a serious injury, or prank gone wrong.
Why do we value fame so much? Are there benefits? It seems as though a celebrity status makes one more susceptible to mental health issues—in addition to sinful behaviors like excessive drinking, promiscuity, and greed.
Pitfalls and Perks
You’ve likely heard about the shooting on the set of an upcoming Alec Baldwin movie, Rust, that killed the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured the director, Joel Souza. Emerging details continue to confirm that the actor was handed a prop gun with a live round, not blanks or “dummies,” and was discharged during rehearsal. The actor was unaware that the gun contained live rounds. There were previous incidences leading up to this event, prompting several crew members to quit the project before the accident. At the time of this writing, no charges have been filed.
Earlier this week, Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of Spanx, gave each of her employees an extremely generous gift. You can watch the heartwarming video here. Blakely, revealing her achievement of her childhood dreams, granted each of her employees $10,000 and two first-class plane tickets to anywhere in the world. Wow!
These are the pitfalls and perks that come with fame. You might be the one holding the gun. Or, you could be the one giving away thousands of dollars. There is a lot of power and responsibility in such positions.
It’s OK to follow the lives of celebrities. We want to know how they spend all that money and what it’s like inside those exclusive hotels, flights to exotic locations in private jets, and simply having someone else do the laundry for a change. It’s fun to know how celebrities live. It’s just not realistic or possible to copy their lives in hopes that our futures will unfold as theirs have.
The Famous One
I giggle when I imagine Jesus on the cover of a celebrity gossip magazine:
“He eats bread!”
“He lives with his mother!”
“He hangs out with losers!”
Jesus is one of the most famous people who has ever lived, but his life wouldn’t have been considered the kind of fame we’d want to copy. And, we certainly would not desire to emulate the way in which his earthly life ended on a cross.
We all too often want to follow the Pharisee, but we will be happy when we learn to live like our Messiah. Just as Ralphie says upon receiving his Little Orphan Annie decoder pin, in A Christmas Story, being a Christ follower comes with “all the honors and benefits occurring thereto.” “Honors and benefits already at the age of nine!”
Honors and Benefits
We know that Christ followers are not exempt to the icky parts of life. Jesus points out that our Father in Heaven “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45, NIV). Following Christ does not guarantee sunny weather—literally and metaphorically. Jesus even promises that things will not go well in this life. In John 16:33, Jesus reminds us that, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble” (NIV). This is a hard truth, but God redeems these times with a purpose, in order that we can comfort others who are also suffering (see 2 Corinthians 1:4). The Bible tells us it is an honor to suffer as Christ did (1 Peter 4:13-16).
If we have the Holy Spirit living within us, we are protected from true isolation. Jesus was fully God and fully man. He has felt every emotion and he understands how you feel right now. Hebrews 4:15 assures us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (NIV).
We are also protected from hopelessness. There are 130 verses about hope in the Bible. Putting our hope and trust in the Lord provides a stable foundation for life. People will make mistakes, stock prices will fall, banks will go belly up, family members will pass away, and bosses will have us working on the weekends. Yet, at the end of our lives, we can truly rest in the knowledge that the grave will not have the last word. The most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16, declares, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV).
As we approach the end-of-the-year holidays, we know that not everyone will enjoy reuniting with family members. You may have recently experienced broken relationships, illness, trauma, or financial hardship. Some will struggle to maintain simply getting along. Can I challenge you to come to church? Can I challenge you to consider what your spring will look like? Will you attend a Bible study, or a community group, or Man Church? Get involved with the community at Christ’s Church and experience the support and encouragement from other believers. We promise not to post any unflattering videos to YouTube!
Virginia Forste is a former elementary teacher. She is excited to be involved in the Moms’ Group at Christ’s Church in Mason, Ohio.