Sometimes, and especially during award season, I find myself captivated by the lives of the rich and famous. I watch interviews, see movies, look at pictures, read stories, and get drawn in to the false belief that their life is somehow better than mine. It is easy to lose sight of reality in the midst of the glitz and glamour – that the reason we have pictures, interviews and stories is because their every move is followed, and they constantly have cameras in their faces.
And what are most of them famous for? Being good at pretending to be someone else, living scandalously, creating drama, having a good voice or body; in a word, superficial. So many people in our culture today are loved and celebrated for what they do, regardless of who they actually are on the inside. Often they display very little on the outside that is of substance, or show character qualities that are worth celebrating or emulating.
And yet I still often find myself wanting to be known as they are, to walk the red carpet and have money to buy fancy clothes. I was reading in Proverbs the other day, though, and this verse caught my attention: “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but live in the fear of the Lord always.” (Prov . 23:17)
In light of eternity, it matters much more who we are than what we do in life. The main reason for that is because what we do stems directly from who we are. If we are people of kindness, then we will be kind to others. If we are prideful, then we will put ourselves and our own interests first. Our heart and our character are what truly matter, not what we wear or how many trophies we have won.
I still love movies, and I do still think it would be really fun to get dressed up and walk the red carpet, at least once. But my heart needs these reminders on occasion that I need to live with the end in mind. That at the end of my life I want to be known as a woman of compassion, strength, dignity, passion for the gospel, kindness, wisdom, humor and love. I want to celebrate real heroes – those who are doing things that matter, who are sacrificing their lives for others, who are living in a way that puts others first. I want to walk through life with those who care more about their character and heart than their public image. Those who, as the verse says, fear the Lord always.
This quote from Francis Chan sums this idea up well: