Please forgive at the onset the critical tone of this post today. I’ve been wrestling with the thought of a great and inglorious exchange that has occurred in my lifetime. It is the swapping of heroes for celebrities. The question should be asked, “Where are the modern day heroes?” I submit that they can only be found in the shadows these days; they exist, but they are no more longed for by us and therefore they are no longer widely appreciated. Honestly, are you easily able to name a current hero in the world who is held in high esteem by all? Perhaps one or two come to mind but I submit that we could name 100 stars that own our headlines and titillate our hollow hearts in America. Our young people don’t look for heroes because they are inundated with an endless stream of celebrities...stars, if you will. Heroes have grown dim and have been replaced by the poor lighting coming from stars. Think with me: Heroes are created in times of crisis. Heroes are sacrificial and live by principle. Heroes could not care less for their image because their causes are outside of themselves. Heroes make their purpose larger than their press clippings. Heroes shine brightly and their light enables others to walk upon a better path. Heroes don’t have time for fame’s pitfalls because they are too busy serving others. Heroes are acutely aware that their clock is ticking and opportunity for doing good will one day cease. Heroes have a list of priorities and they place their own name at the bottom of that list. Heroes give off light that outlives them. I ask you again, how many heroes are you aware of that live amongst us?
Celebrities are a different story. They simply tell us that they are worthy to be observed as they bask in their own light. Their principles, if they exist, are always up for auction to the highest bidder. These shining stars tantalize many a fool and now we are in a generation which is fame-lusty and believes that, if we can only graduate to become the objects of the paparazzi’s cameras, then we will have discovered our reason for being. Celebrities appear out of nowhere and to become one there is only the need for heightened superficiality and favored timing. Good looks may help you become a star – good character will likely inhibit the process. Athletic prowess will usher you into a life of privilege and power – however spiritual strength need not be on your résumé. If you are fortunate enough to be born an heiress, people will eventually close their bibles and turn on their web browsers to follow your every step as you shop, pose, party and bed-hop. Why would someone want to live heroically when it is a much shorter process to seek to become a star?
Would it be ill-advised for a Christian to seek to live heroically? Most heroes are not renowned for being so until after their deaths. Yet, while they lived, they sought a different plan of purpose. They said along with a young shepherd named David who would later be a renowned king, “Is there not a cause?” While others stand around debating and debunking, heroic individuals are putting their hands to the plows and never looking back. I would be crushed to find out when my children are adults that someone else had become their hero; that’s not my ego talking, that’s the Spirit of God motivating me to fulfill my high calling of being a man of God to the precious little ones entrusted to my care. If Amy ever longed for a better or different husband than me, it would be a clear signal that I failed in my primary role in life. Am I flawed? Of course, in many ways. But being flawed and being a failure are certainly not the same things. Who will be Amy’s knight in armor and Alicia’s and Landon’s human rock? If it is not me, then I have missed the mark. To become well-known to others while becoming poorly valued by my family would be an enduring nightmare. Public acclaim or personal character will be on your list of choices all your life – not only in what you seek to cultivate for yourself but also in what you admire about others.
There is much more to say but not in this post. Think on these things with me as we approach a new year. These three questions need to be answered by each of us who are followers of Christ and have acknowledged with that little shepherd boy that there is, indeed, a cause:
Who am I looking to for inspiration in life?
Who am I inspiring in life?
What must I begin to do to guarantee that I never exchange heroic substance for celebrity shadows?
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