That’s the paradox of fame. Just like drugs and alcohol, once you become addicted, you can’t live without it. But you can’t live with it, either. Celebrities have described fame like being ‘an animal in a cage; a toy in a shop window; a Barbie doll; a public facade; a clay figure; or, that guy on TV,’ according to research by the psychologist Donna Rockwell. Yet they can’t give it up.
–Arthur Brooks, “Love people, not pleasure,” New York Times opinion page, 7/20
God knows I am not writing the following to brag. He has given me a heart to teach. I just came across this quote, & this is a great opportunity to impart truth.
Since we moved to the Philippines almost a year ago, I have been treated almost like a celebrity in many places, because every foreigner that the desperately poor people here see seems to be so wealthy & accomplished. But I never bask in it; I use it to lift others up. When I serve every Saturday at a ministry that feeds about 4000 every weekend, I look people in the eyes & greet them, I pick up children & tell them they’re beautiful, & I playfully wrestle with boys who don’t have dads. They are surprised when they see me picking up messes or spooning out food. They are used to seeing foreigners living like princes. But I enjoy every minute of it.
We have all seen athletes who are exhausted & covered in sweat, yet they don’t mind at all because they are thrilled by the great victory they’ve just won. That’s how I feel every Saturday as my wife & I leave.
If I were to use my “celebrity” for personal gain, I know I would be just like those in the quote above. I have met foreigners living here who are just as miserable as that.
Jesus said that it is in giving that we receive. It is in dying that we find life. It is in humbling ourselves that we are lifted up. I’m living proof of that. thanks be to God.