You know you want to.
We'd all love to know what's it like to be king or queen for a day. You can just imagine the royal treatment, right!
We all at times dream about being the most important and beloved person in the room. That's because we all crave celebrity status for ourselves, in some way or another. Maybe you don't want to be the world-renowned movie star or celebrated celebrity, but you would like to be recognized for you talents and accomplishments in some way or another. We all dream of reaching the apex of greatness, each in our own way and arena. The question is, why? Why should we seek and desire such status?
The answer to that question is important. If we seek recognition and status for our own sake, then we are attempting to draw people to ourselves for our own benefit. That's not good. It might feel good, and be good for us for a moment. But sometimes, what's good for us in the moment isn't good for others, or us long term.
Think about it. If the whole world were caught up in wanting to get love, attention, and affection, who would be there to give it? A self-centered approach might seem good to us, but it's not good for us; for all of us.
A Saint is someone who understands that it is truly better to give than recieve. If we were all giving to others, we'd all be getting a whole lot more, even for ourselves. But that can't happen if we won't turn our attention away from getting towards giving.
It does seem counter-intuitive and somewhat self-debasing to consider the idea that selflessness is better than selfishness. We all have needs. If we don't focus on meeting those needs, who will? But when it comes to our most important needs, we can't meet them ourselves. Our need for love, belonging, and community can only be met by others. So, if we're all going to find the love and belonging we need, desire, and crave, we're going to have to face the reality that we need to becomg better givers of those things for others, in order to improve the odds of getting those things for ourselves.
Jesus and his Apostles made some radical statements to that end. One of the most notible is from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Church in Philipi. In that letter he wrote,
"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one
another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own
personal interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4 NASB)."
In the NIV translation it's stated this way, "value others above yourselves," and in the CEB "think of others as better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3b). Wow!! Now that's a radical and challenging idea. It's also the opposite of how we've been taught to think by the current celebrity status mentality of today. The entire crux of social media, it seems, is built on the opposite of this idea presented by Paul. From Tic Toc to YouTube, we're taught to think of ourselves as better than others, and to put ourselves first. But what has that kind of thing produced in our current society? Put another way, how is me seeking attention for myself working out in the broader culture?
As a culture, it seems like we've never felt more alone, isolated, unloved, and overlooked. It's no coicidence that, the more we seek attention, the less satisfied we are with the attention we get. That's because what Jesus and his followers understood all those centuries ago is still true today, that we don't feel more loved the more we attempt to get love. Focusing on ourselves does not make us happy. It's as we learn to focus on the good of others that we find what is good for ourselves.
That's why I believe it's better to choose to be a Saint over a celebrity.
What do you think?