Thirteen years ago she would have given anything—even everything for such a moment. She stepped to the edge of the stage to acknowledge the standing ovation. Five years ago, her growing success left her breathless. Since then, she had tired of the road trips, the fickleness of friends and fans. The three ex-husbands just didn’t seem to realize how much of her had to go into holding on to what she had. Booze and various drugs were losing their power to hold her together. With a frozen smile and a leaden heart she waved acknowledgement to the crowd, but the thought that went through her mind for the hundredth time was: “Is this all there is?”
For the most of us, fame does not represent worldwide marquees or nurturing a worldwide reputation. It has more to do with what neighbors and friends think about us. Especially is this true if we are in our youth. The Israelites of old sinned because they wanted to be like those around them. Human nature has not changed. It is still hard to go against the flow. It is hard to do right when all about us others are doing wrong and making it appear stylish and attractive.
Christ stated the challenge when he prayed for the disciples: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:15, 16
The message of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament is a powerful one. Solomon had been there and done it. He had wisdom, fame, power, and wealth. He experimented with each of these and noted his feelings when he had reached the ultimate degree in each department. He said, “So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor…then I looked…on the labor I had labored to do; and behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:9-11
The book would seem morbid and man’s lot hopeless were it not for the closing thought; “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 If one gains the world and loses his soul, is he really profited? If one pleases thousands and displeases the one before whom he will stand in judgment has he lived a successful life? That is what we each must decide. It is sad that so many chase a mirage and miss out on the reality.