Is my ultimate aim in life to be faithful or famous?
Culture often feeds us the lie that working your way up the ladder to be known and famous is one of the deepest satisfactions you can have. The more success you have, the more fame you have – the more things you can buy – places you can go – followers on social media you have – and much more.
Many things in life try to pull us towards being famous, but the more fame we have, the more opportunities we have to do the wrong thing. We are tempted to begin to think we are untouchable, putting way too much confidence in ourselves alone.
From a Christian perspective, a lot of pressure is taken off ourselves when we simply aim to be faithful in each season of life God has us in. Faithful to our families and the people we love, care for and lead. Faithful to our churches and living in community together. Faithful to the jobs we currently have, making the most of every opportunity and working hard to reflect the Lord. Faithful to bring the Gospel to every person we encounter. And ultimately, faithful to love and follow Jesus Christ, putting his fame and glory above our own.
This is obviously easier said that done, and goes against the flow of this world. As I’ve been reflecting on this, here are some thoughts that I hope encourage you to put faithfulness to Jesus over your own personal fame.
- There is a difference between seeking after fame and desiring to have influence.
The Bible is filled with stories of people who had influence, but this influence was governed under the authority and power of God. God called people to a higher calling, to pursue his Kingdom. This calling would require that person to influence other people. Time and time again, you see people being used by God, but especially when they are obedient, willing, broken and humbled before God. God empowers them to make an influence towards people for the Kingdom. These people that God used were not called to bring glory and fame to themselves. They were called to humility, pointing others to the life changing power and message of the Gospel. God is still doing this with people today and he wants to work through us!
Influence should be used as a powerful tool. God may give some of us a larger platform or avenue to influence a lot of people, or, God may give you a small group of people or even one person at a time, in a specific setting that he has placed you in, in order to influence them. At the end of the day, every person we influence matters. Every Christian should pray for and depend on God to be used to influence other people for the Gospel. God gives us gifts to be used, but we must remember that he’s the giver of those gifts, not ourselves!
- Being faithful and not seeking our own fame takes the pressure off that we aren’t meant to live up to.
When people desire and pursue fame for themselves, there are high chances that they will fall or make unwise decisions that negatively effect their lives and others. As I’ve observed and read about the pastors who fell in some way, one thing seemed to be consistent: many of them were well known and famous in Christian circles. Now, does that mean that only famous people fall in that way? Absolutely not. Anyone can fall. I’m sure there are a lot more that we have never heard of. But, it does seem that the more fame we collect for ourselves or others put on us, the higher we could think of ourselves. We could begin to think that we are untouchable, not in need of accountability, and are on some type of different level than others.
There are lots of examples we could pull from, that you may even be thinking of right now. Personally, I take this as a warning to guard myself against that and always make myself accountable to others. Instead of pointing the finger at them though, I look at myself and work hard for that to not be me!
Honestly, I don’t think human beings are meant to be famous. We simply cannot handle it. We were not created to do that. We don’t have the ability to hold up to those expectations. Apart from God, our hearts are wicked and selfish (Jeremiah 17:9). When we seek after fame, we are entering a slippery slope of putting expectations on ourselves that we were never meant to meet. Sometimes people may not directly seek after fame, but others put it on them, and I’m sure that navigating this takes lots of wisdom and humility!
- Being faithful helps us live in and make the most of every moment.
If fame should not be our aim, then I believe faithfulness should be. Being faithful puts us all on the same level. Regardless of where we find ourselves, we must aim to be faithful. Faithful to Jesus first, our families second, and then our other relationships and the things we do. Whether we are flipping burgers at a restaurant, sitting in business meetings, driving a school bus, writing books, studying for a test, serve in vocational ministry, or anything else. Wherever we are right now, as Christians, we need to be faithful with that. God sees everything we do. When we look at every moment before us as an opportunity to be faithful, it really helps us cherish this life. We begin to see things through God’s eyes, and we soak up everything before us. God desires for us to be faithful to Him, in the little things and in the big things.
Here are just a few Scriptures that speak about being faithful to Christ and serving as he did:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
So, what has God called you to do? How can you be faithful in every season you are in? How can you take every moment, opportunity, task and responsibility and be faithful to it in a way that reflects and pleases Jesus? We can have influence, yet check our hearts at the same time, and ask God to be glorified, not ourselves. Let’s aim to be faithful in this lifetime, knowing that it will echo into the next. Let’s not collect fame for our own name, but only for the name of Jesus!