Wednesday, October 1, 2014

“The Colossal Wreck”

    I define fame (or the famous) in our generation in terms of "those whose character traits and habits elicit in us the desperate hope they will not move into our neighborhood."

    I freely admit this to constitute an unfair generalization.  Notable exceptions to the rule exist, and I much admire those who maintain humility, character, and integrity amid the trappings of notoriety.  It remains true, however, that the human psyche was not made for fame - "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (I Corinthians 10:31).  As one victim of notoriety confessed, "I wanted to be famous all my life - until five minutes after it happened.  No, make that four."  We exist to direct attention away from ourselves and unto the Lord Jesus Christ.  "Not unto us, o Lord, to unto us, but unto Thy name give glory" (Psalm 115:1).

   Of course, many enjoy their presently exalted status, doing everything possible to keep their name on the marquee.  Fame, the cruel master, demands such slavish devotion, diligence, and effort.  One day, however, the lights will fade, the marquee will no longer bear the name, and admirers will forget the formerly famous in lieu of the new kid on the stage, or field, or political office (or sometimes, sadly, the pulpit).  Nothing of value will be left, and a wasted life of usurping God's glory will plague the notable with a lasting, and for some, everlasting regret.

    You've likely heard of the poet Shelley's tragic poem, Ozymandias.  We close with the sad fate of one who sought fame (and even more, its nefarious companion, power), only to discover the "colossal wreck" that alway ensues when seeking glory fills the heart with darkness and impending doom.

I met a traveller from an antique land, who said,
"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert.
Near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies,
whose frown and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
tell that its sculptor well those passions read
which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
the hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear,
My name is Ozymandias, king of kings.
Look on my works and despair!
Nothing beside remains.  
Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
the lone and level sands stretch far away.

"And upon a set day, Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne and made an oration unto them.  And the people gave a great shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.  And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory.  And he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost."
(Acts 12:21-23)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
(Colossians 3:16)

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