Fame or Shame, You Choose!

by | Dec 27, 2022

 

Irene Cara died last month. I remembered her best from the movie Fame and the soundtrack of the same name. The impressions they both left in my mind are still strong even though forty-two years have elapsed. As the tributes and remembrances flowed in through the news, one in particular caught my attention. It was Irene speaking about herself and the feeling she’d always had. She said that from the earliest time she could remember, she felt destined to be famous. She said she knew, she would reach the top of her profession one day and achieve the fame she sang about in the movie. “She knew,” and she was right. I’ve heard many other celebrities say the same thing – they knew.

Those two words impressed me the most over everything else in her interviews and tributes. The reason is simple; I felt the same way.  I think most people have that same sense of destiny in them. Most of us desire fame and wealth, to be listened too and heard. We want to be respected and receive the applause of people. We all want our “fifteen minutes of fame.” It is a natural vanity which Tik Tok, Facebook, and YouTube shorts have exploited.  Modern technology obviates old-fashioned talent and hard work.

It has only been recently, as I wrote My Story, His Glory, that I embraced my, “I knew.” Sure, I too had a sense of my calling from my earliest childhood. The feeling that you’re different, that you’re unique, and that you don’t fit in, were all part of the sense I had growing up. It was real and it was palatable, but as I grew older, I learned to live with it, even stifle it. I think most of us have done the same thing as the practically of life grabs us by the throat and says feed me! Most of us surrender our “I knew,” to the exigency of life and only glace behind us to see if its unwelcome shadow is still there. For most of us our eulogies will testify to our final surrender of life’s true calling.

It should not be that way. You see, God has a call for each one of us, it is not to fleeting and fickle fame or the accolades of men. God’s call is to life and to life abundant. God calls us to eternity, but He warns us that if we chose rightly, the world will not applaud our choice.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15: 18 -19.

Herein is our problem – we prefer the world to God. Jesus was spit upon, beaten, ridiculed, and killed in broad daylight. Who in their right mind would want that? No, smart people say, “Let me make the world my friend.” Most of us would rather chase the empty hope of fame, now, than endure the promise of scorn, now. After all heaven is a long way off. And so, when we hear God’s call, we mistake it, we marginalize it, or we ignore it altogether. That is until we cannot any longer and too often, then, it is too late. For the fortunate, our experience and circumstances compel us to hear and heed.

That is what happened to me and that is why I write. I write because what I have learned by my experience is that the shame is worth it. The denial of present fame and fortune is immeasurably small compared to the gain of eternity. In fact, it is not even a fair comparison. Christ knew what was to be gained through sacrifice and shame; no pain, sorry, or hurt here was worth losing it. Once I believed that, the words to Irene Cara’s song rang hollow to me.

“I’m gonna live forever. I’m gonna learn how to fly (High). I feel it coming together. People will see me and cry. I’m gonna make it to heaven. Light up the sky like a flame. (Fame)”

Sadly, at just sixty-three years of age, Irene Cara’s flame blew out; she is no longer with us. Fame could not grant her the forever she sang about; only Christ can do that. I hope that in the silent moments she shared with all of us – the “I knew” moments – she heard and heeded His call to her. More importantly, I pray that you will hear and follow God’s call for your life, no matter where it leads you now. I know, He is calling you, just like He called me. The real choice is not fame or shame, it is Life!

As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die? Ezekiel 33:11 NLT

You can live forever!