The Elusive 15 Minutes of Fame
It doesn’t seem to matter what it takes to gain the fame, as long at the individual is the center of attention at least once.
Andy Warhol’s prediction that everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes captures a powerful drive in us all. When I was a kid and we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, we said things like, “I wanna be a fireman, policeman, pilot, cowboy, astronaut, president, etc.” In recent years, a very common response to that same question is, “I want to be famous.” It doesn’t seem to matter what it takes to gain the fame, as long at the individual is the center of attention at least once.
We Are Not Ordinary
We are made for glory. We are significant. There are no ordinary people. Each of us has the image of God stamped on us. The problem is that when our ancestors, Adam and Eve chose to reach for the glory that belongs only to God, their own glory was marred. Ever since, humans have been seeking to recover it. We want to matter. We long for purpose and meaning. We find ourselves boasting of our accomplishments, spinning stories that present us as the hero. We will even stoop to killing the reputation of others in an effort to elevate our own status. We may work long years in obscurity, but underneath we hope for the day when, finally, we are appreciated and honored.
When I was a young pastor in a decaying neighborhood in the city, the funeral homes discovered that I would handle funerals for those who had no church affiliation, and at no charge. I did lots of funerals. Some of the people were homeless, and almost all had lived their whole lives in relative obscurity, known only by a few others who mostly lived in obscurity as well. Sometimes there would be less than five people at the funeral. As I stood behind the casket, I always wondered about their stories. Who admired them? Who loved them? What had they done during their days on earth? What difference had they made? Who would miss them? It can lead one to think that our lot is to live in obscurity — unless of course God’s word is true about those who trust him.
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4 ESV)
United With Christ
Since our life is united with Christ’s life, we have the assurance that when he appears we shall appear with him. He has come as one of us to do for us what we could never achieve. He has rescued us from guilt, shame and condemnation. We have been enlisted to be partners with God in spreading the news of his kingdom, which offers hope for everyone. We have glory and honor now as his own sons, but we look forward to the day when our 15 minutes of fame will last for eternity.
Our boasting now is in his achievements. He is the one who did what no other man could do. He lived the perfect life, died a sacrificial death that paid for our sins, defeated death in his resurrection, and now sits in the place of authority over all God’s creation. What accomplishments do we have that could compare? Our fame is not in what we have done, but in what he has done for us, thus establishing a value on us that is inestimable. The fact that we are unconditionally loved by the most significant being in existence gives us a glory that mocks any fame we might achieve by what we do.
Because our life is united to his, we are enabled to live as people of the future while we are still in the present. He has already judged sin. He has already fulfilled the covenant. He has already stood in our place before eternal justice. He has already been enthroned. He has already sent his Spirit to empower us for our work on earth. We are glorious because we are united with the glorious one. No need to boast. No call to spin the stories. No pushing and shoving to get on stage. We are in Christ and he is eternally and outlandishly famous.