I have a guilty pleasure that no one knows about (well, until now). I love to watch True Hollywood Story. While I am not into celebrity gossip and I am only slightly educated about popular television these days, there is something flat-out fascinating to me about biographical programs, even if I have no earthly idea why the person profiled even deserves a televised biography. The compelling segments of THS are those where friends of the celebrity being profiled give testimonials about their relationship with that person. It has occurred to me that there is a great truth to be learned from those.
The last episode I watched was on Courteney Cox-Arquette, of sitcom Friends fame. During one particular segment, several of her close friends, being interviewed separately, made poignant remarks about how Courteney had often been the only friend not to abandon them during an especially difficult time in their lives. One actor said, “You can count on Courtney being the first to call you when there’s something hard going on in your life, and if you don’t answer the phone, she’ll show up at your door.” Subsequent comments mirrored this one. Friend after friend lauded Courteney’s compassion, selflessness, and sensitivity towards those around her.
I thought to myself, Wow, what wonderful things her friends are saying! They really honor her with words like these.
There are thousands, maybe even millions of people who are literally obsessed with celebrities to an order of magnitude that can easily be described as idolatry (ever heard of the Twilight movies?). Is it due to the appeal of physical beauty? Surely that’s part of it, as we live in a world where outward beauty is the most sought-after commodity and often the first benchmark by which we judge others. Is it a genuine appreciation for high quality singing or acting (I find this laughably unlikely in many cases)? I personally believe that, largely, these adoring fans envy and crave the glamour, the money, the possessions, all the perks, trimmings, and fringe benefits that go along with mega-fame. Somehow, they interpret these material things as reasons to be liked and loved by those around them. I wonder, do any of these fans even notice that on shows like THS you never hear the family and close friends of the celebrity say anything like, “Oh, I just love Courtney, because her skin is flawless, she’s a perfect size 2, she has the latest Mercedes convertible, and her house in Malibu is amazing! Isn’t she just fantastic?! I love being her friend!”
Imagine what others would say if interviewed for a biographical program about you. Let’s call it True Christian Stories. Do you think your family and friends would speak of the big, beautiful home you spent years meticulously saving for then obsessively decorating? Would they recall your deep, tireless devotion to climbing up the corporate ladder as far and fast as possible and the luxuries that has afforded you? Maybe they’d talk about your outward image, your perfectly-styled hair and all the trendy clothing you own…
But if they didn’t talk about those things, would they have anything important to say about you?
What if those being interviewed spoke of your eager generosity towards those in need, your tendency to drop absolutely everything to be a present support for a hurting friend, or your voracious appetite for knowledge of Christ and passion for building the Kingdom?
Imagine that these are the characteristics most often witnessed, admired, and then inherited by your children and your children’s children. That likelihood increases exponentially with the importance you place on such things during your time here on earth. The spiritual fruits of peace, hope, and love are the powerful witness of a life well-lived. Aren’t those the fruits we truly long to have and desire for those we love?
Take inventory. Where are you placing your passions and desires? Which of your values are most visible to those around you? Where would they say your treasure is (and therefore your heart)?