Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Do something important today, Friend.
Sometimes I hear phrases from our popular culture so inane that I cringe. Often they pass away quickly, and I am able to go on with life without comment. Other times, I reach a place where my internal stupidity meter registers “TILT!” Over the last few years, we have become enamored of a form of contest in which unknown performers are encouraged to display their wares on the public stage. They then allow themselves to be voted on by a panel of B-list celebrities. Either before or after their performance, the aspirant is interviewed to give a personal flavor to the moment. One very common question is some variant of, “Tell us, Grasshopper, how much does it mean to you to be here on Amateurs on Parade.” In the vast majority of cases, the anxious contestant replies, “Everything! It means everything to me.” This is the point where I have to consciously maintain my serenity so as to avoid startling my wife. I want to reach through the screen, grab them by the lapels, and scream, “Wake up!”
Last night I watched as a lovely young lady sang a mediocre rendition of some love ballad. She was a college student whose mom had died when she was seven. She dedicated the performance to mom, who she felt strongly would be invisibly present at the festivities. As she sang, the camera flashed repeatedly to the tearful face of her widowed father waiting in the wings. They seemed to be very nice people. But when she said that this opportunity meant “everything” to her, I went tilt. No it doesn’t. Your dad means more. Your impact on the world using your education means more. The family you will probably raise means more. And all that is just natural stuff. There is an eternity which overshadows all these things in its importance. Your character, your calling, and your salvation all mean infinitely more. If, indeed, this moment of quasi-celebrity means everything to you, then you are a remarkably shallow person. I choose to believe, rather, this kid just reflects the water in the pool she is swimming in. Our dominant culture has become so obsessed with celebrity that we have forgotten what it is that gives meaning to life. We are able to sit quietly and listen to such nonsense without even flinching.
Scripture Reading: I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ
(Philippians 3:7-8 NLT)
Somebody Said: The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
— William James
Forgive my rant. I understand the mindless blubbering of youth in an emotional moment. What’s amazing is a culture that considers such things important rather than simply amusing. Our values have simply evaporated. I want to live a life that matters, how about you?