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The Price of Fame

In 2012 a Michael Jackson song titled Price of fame was released. In it he writes:


"I want a face no one can recognize, in disguise

Someone called out my name

They thought of taking pictures, autographs, then they grab

My joy had turned to pain"


There was a time when arguably the worlds greatest pop star walked the streets wearing disguises. Covering the faces of his children with blankets and veils to keep the paparazzi from snapping pictures of them. Imagine for a moment, a world of strangers, dressed like you, calling you by your first name, like they actually know you. Crying out to you saying "I love you" only for you to turn and realize you have no idea who they are.


"Father always told me,

You won't live a quiet life

If you're reaching for fortune and fame

I feel the pressure setting in, I'm living just to win

I'm done in my pain, don't you feel no pain?"


Consider some of Michael's songs; "Leave me Alone" "Beat it" "They Don't Care about us" and "Scream". Maybe he was trying to tell us something? Imagine relinquishing the very thing we all covet at some point in our lives....our privacy.  Fame means sacrificing the little things in life we often take for granted. The opportunity to think, eat, shop, to walk in silence and gather our thoughts, to reflect on life. "You won't live a quiet life, If you're reaching for fortune and fame." If you had to give up walking your kids to the park, watching a movie or going on simple intimate dates would it be worth the cost of fame?


"It's the price of fame, you pay the price of fame

So don't be feeling' no pain!

It's the price of fame, it's the price of fame

So don't you ever complain?"


Thanks to the internet the most intimate details of our parts of our personal lives are now very public. But do we really have the right to enter into the back yards and bedrooms of our favorite celebs? Regardless to what we think, with the attention that fame brings comes; TMZ, the gossip blogs, the stalkers, the constant pressure of never making mistakes in public that others get to make in private. But is fame really worth the price of making your private life public?


"I feel the pressure setting in, I'm living just to win" There's is an indescribable feeling that comes with being famous that most never get to experience. But with this comes a tremendous temptation to remain at the top. To protect what has been bestowed by others. Isn't that truly what fame is? Something others have given you? Fame is often built on one's reputation and reputation is all about how you are recognized by others. Problem is, in today's society fame too often based on perception of beauty, talent and winning over actual character. You don't believe this? Just consider all the World class athletes who lie about not using performance enhancing drugs. Think about some of today's celebs who are famous for recording a sex video, who only yesterday beat their women, stabbed or shot somebody, openly admit to illegal drug use, were caught committing child pornography, and those who even paid $30 million dollars in settlements for something they say they...didn't do?

But despite these acts many still buy their music, watch their movies and wear their sports jerseys. Everyone makes mistakes and undoubtedly deserves a second chance. But before restoring them to fame don't you deserve to see a change in their character? Does a pedophile really get to now serenade you about love, sex and romance or work in a church youth ministry with your kids? Is the cost of fame so great that we are required to exchange low character for a high degree of talent? As one quote goes "If character is the tree, reputation is the shadow." Reputation, the shadow, disappears when the "shine" is gone. But character, the tree, it always remains, so it would be wise to protect the tree!


And where does the church fit into all of this? Some popular celebrities who call themselves Christians started out in church but now they flash illuminati signs, popularize the degradation of women, the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and sensationalize the mob and thug life. Then they stand before us wearing huge diamond encrusted crosses and grilles thanking God as they accept their Oscar, Grammy or Image awards. Is fame really worth your integrity?


Reality TV is full of shows with famous Christian gospel artist and preachers who sacrifice their Christian values in exchange for fame. But are they protecting their tree? Some say they're just keeping it real! But is the cost of fame worth compromising your values? Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life! So Christians are required to live a life in a way that truthfully follows Jesus. While it is refreshing to see popular Christians struggle publicly with things many of us know we also struggle with in private. We should also see these struggles take these folks straight back to Christ.


Today's mindset is that "keeping it real" is about accepting "what is", where things are as if there's no higher standard of living to ascribe to. But the responsibility of the church is to inspire others to raise their level of character. God's standard for the church is that they "Let His light so shine" in their lives. This by no means requires perfection from people, that's impossible! But it does require a life dedicated to striving towards this standard. Instead of accepting "It is what is!" find out what "it's supposed to be" and strive for that!


"It's the price of fame, you pay the price of fame, So don't be feelin' no pain!" What good is character and integrity if you lose your sense of identity? When you look in a mirrors it allows you to identify with the person you see looking back at you. Yet for the price of fame people give up their sense of self by surgically altering their faces and their bodies. Imagine the pain of one day looking in a mirror and feeling no physical or emotional attachment to the face looking back at you. Lip injections, butt injections, breast enhancements, body ink...lasting decisions for temporary gain. Is the cost of fame and the attention it brings worth the price of your very soul?


There's a new public service commercial where they're teaching that the cost of smoking cigarettes is greater than the money you will pay. In the commercial as a young girl pays for a pack of cigarettes the cashier tells her it's going to cost her more than her money! So the girl rips off a piece of skin from her face, takes her pack and walks out dejected. Because like all smokers she knows the cost she just doesn't believe she will ever have to pay the price! Imagine if the price of fame costs you your nose, the color of your skin, caused you to live everyday in excruciating pain while taking highly addictive drugs just so you could continue to do concerts and sell records just stay on top....is that cost too high?


There is an even greater price to be considered before chasing fame. The fast paced and turbulent lifestyle that accompanies fame can demand your very life. Charlie Parker, Jackie Wilson, Billy Holiday, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Biggie, Tupac, Elvis, Chris Kelly (Kris Kross) Heath Ledger, Kurt Cobain...and the list goes on. Jesus said "What good is it if a man gains the whole world yet loses his soul? Jesus himself was famous but the Bible says he never sought a reputation for himself. In other words he never chased fame! So you can be famous without ever chasing fame. Difference is, fame didn't cost Jesus his life, purpose did!


It's been said that life has its greatest value when we spend it doing what we love most. It can be argued that many if not all of these folks named above died at a time when they were still doing what they loved doing most. But for too many on this list their lives were marked by violence, turmoil, tragedy, battles with alcohol, drugs, depression. Some may argue that this is the price of fame. But maybe it more likely be that it's not enough that you live your life doing what you love most. You may also need a sense of purpose to direct your life and lead you down the path of your destiny. Now don't go crazy trying to buy up books to figure out your purpose. Just be true to who you are, to what you love most and purpose will reveal itself. Purpose is most revealed when living a life in intimate relationship with God. Because as the Creator he is most aware of who you are and what you are created for and He will lead you to your true destiny.


Pastor and author Andy Stanley suggests in his book the Principle of the Path that just as there are physical roads that lead to physical destinations there are also financial, spiritual and emotional pathways that lead to actual destinations. If this is true then maybe there is also a pathway to fame. But if fame has a pathway what price is there to travel along that road? You may want to consider an alternate route. Instead of searching for the path to fame, discover the road to your destiny! A road designed for who you are, that is paved with opportunity for your talents, that requires high character and that values integrity. Why not search for this road! That way if fame happens along the way....it won't cost you a thing!


God has Already Blessed!


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