This has been called the era of Celebrity Christianity. It’s a term that has been used in a variety of different ways. Some use it to refer to Christians who adopt the lifestyles and mindsets of secular celebrities. To others it has the connotation of Christian leaders acting like celebrities – you know, special treatment, more recognition, more power and more influence.
Then again it can refer to the Christian subculture and our need to have our own celebrities. People we look up to. People we can emulate. People who give us hope that we can make it just like they made it.
Over the years evangelical Christianity has developed a parallel universe with our own schools, our own publishers, our own musicians, and even our own celebrities.
Every culture has their celebrities. Every culture seems to have a need for celebrities. People who have made it in life. The rest of us are just the others still hoping to make it.
The Bible presents a vastly different picture.
Hebrews 11 is a good example. In the first 34 verses it relates the faith of some of the greatest “celebrities” in the Bible. People like Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and his son Joseph, and Moses. People who were celebrities in the right sense of the word.
Then you get to verse 35 and it says others . . .
We all know about Enoch and Noah and Abraham. We’re familiar with Jacob and Joseph and Moses. And we know that we aren’t worthy to carry their bags. But what about the others that the writer mentions? Those unnamed, anonymous followers of God who lived by faith even though they faced mocking and scourging, yes, and of chains and imprisonments. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:36-38). They were just ordinary people – people like you and me. But people who knew what it meant to live by faith.
Up until verse 35 most of the things that are said of the people who are named are positive. They walked with God. They were obedient. They led great nations and conquered great cities.
All of that changes when you come to the others. They had great trials, suffered for God, were homeless and wandered destitute. No glory here. This is not the stuff of Celebrity Christianity.
But it is the stuff of our lives. Most of us live on the other side of verse 35. The hard side. History will probably not record your name. You will stand anonymous, unnamed.
But not to God. He knows. And ultimately that’s all that counts.
God is not looking for the next Abraham or Moses. He’s not looking for another Christian Celebrity. He’s looking for ordinary people, the others, who will live with courageous faith. He’s looking for people of whom He can say the world was not worthy of them (Hebrews 11:38). He’s just looking for people who will be faithful no matter what life throws at them.
The truth is we don’t need more Christian Celebrities. We need more others.
It’s an awesome heritage and responsibility that has been left to us to live life with the others.
Stay in the Word