We live in a culture that is obsessed with celebrity.
A few years ago a study was conducted in which people ages 18 to 25 were surveyed to discover what their most important values were. Far and above all other values were two that tied for first among this group. They were fame and money.
The study revealed that Americans in this age bracket wanted to be rich and famous more than anything else in life. In fact, the study went on to demonstrate that they didn’t even care what they were famous for, they just wanted to be famous…and rich. Let’s not forget rich.
I often shake my head in scorn when I see leading news stories about the new hairstyle of an actress, or how one celebrity is dating another celebrity, or how some talk show host insulted another talk show host on some absurd level.
“Who cares?!” I yell at the computer screen. “We are involved in two wars, our economy is on the brink of destruction, there are millions of people without jobs who are losing their homes and this is news?!”
It makes me angry, and I am disgusted with the fact that there are entire websites, magazines, and TV shows dedicated to nothing but celebrity gossip.
The problem is that this obsession with fame and celebrity has made its way into the church as well, and I am ashamed to admit that I am just as guilty as anyone when it comes to this obsession.
We say the names of Christian “celebrities” like Matt Chandler, John Piper, John MacArthur, David Platt Francis Chan, and others with awe and reverence. We imagine them as some type of spiritual giants, and we buy their books, and listen to their pod casts, and watch their videos and hang on every word they write or utter assuming that if they have said it, then it must be absolutely true.
We forget that they are men. Mere men. They sin, they fail, and they need grace just as much as you and I do. I think they would tell you that as well.
My in-laws attend Matt Chandler’s church in Texas. In fact, they are friends of his. It’s true. Do you know how many times I’ve told people that in some ridiculous and pathetic effort to impress them? Even once is one too many.
I wonder what Paul would say to this obsession with celebrity we have in this country. Actually, we don’t have to wonder. He wrote it down for us in 1 Corinthians 3:4-7.
For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
I don’t know any of the men that I listed above, and in no way am I attempting to minimize or belittle the vital ministry that God is performing through them. But let’s remember that it is God who is doing the work, not them.
I also think that if I know anything of them from their sermons and books, I imagine that they are more interested in making Jesus famous than themselves.
So should we.
After all, the only one who truly deserves to be famous is the One who created, saved, and sustains us.
Let’s be obsessed with Jesus.