Celebrity versus servant, who is greater? Unlike Jesus, the world views fame and celebrity differently than God. The desire for fame as we have discussed is often driven by deep insecurities and a need for validation by others. But, that validation comes at a tremendous cost. It is not surprising the words of Jesus contradicts the language of the world. Diametrically opposed to each other are these two. The world wants us to focus on temporary self-gratification while Jesus wants us to focus on things with intrinsic value. He wants us to elevate ourselves above the me-first mentality which pervades our culture and recognize the value in serving others. We’ve all heard it is better to give than receive, but does this still hold true for many of us today? During speaking engagements and trainings I often ask how it feels to help someone in need. The response is universally positive. Most people feel good when they are able to help someone. It’s almost like we are hard-wired to help others, we find our humanity through these acts of kindness.
Putting others first makes most people feel good and increases their feelings of self-worth. Instead of relying on the admiration of others for their worth, these people rely on the giving of themselves to others to find their worth. The trappings of fame are fleeting, but the feelings you get from the giving of your time to help others are with you always. When we compare the celebrity to the servant, we must look at our own worldview and how it impacts our willingness to serve. Those who serve have a different worldview than those who do not. Servants believe God can and will supply their needs, those who do not serve believe in a limited supply and if they don’t get what’s theirs they will miss out. The people seeking to find meaning in life miss out on one of life’s great purposes by not serving others. Celebrities and the wealthy constantly fret about being surrounded by only people who want what they can give them. When you give from your heart those fears are no longer relevant. While the wealthy and the celebrity appears to receive greater benefits in reality, they are slaves to their external belongings. When you give you also receive the knowledge of how your self-sacrifice helped someone in need. The impact giving has on the receiver helps us celebrate a universal truth; we depend and need each other.
But how beautiful it can be to humbly receive! The receiver is not ashamed to feel that he is beholden or needs to express thanks. The ability to ask for and accept help is a deeply human gesture, a recognition of the truth that no person can manage alone. The giver may appear to be self-sufficient, but we are all parts of an interconnected web, and to receive is to acknowledge this eternal truth about all of us. To receive with entitlement or ingratitude is ugly; to lose initiative or effort in the expectation of getting something is a betrayal of human spirit. But to watch someone receive with heartfelt thanks is a gorgeous thing to see. – Rabbi David Wolpe TIME
To be a servant to others is the greater of the two. When you serve it provides you something nothing else can give you. Addiction to drugs, money, food, etc. affect so many today, because they are looking for the feeling you get from serving others. They are trying to find it in substances, in fame, in wealth and they cannot find it. The things they seek are hollow and cannot provide them with what they seek most. It is better to be content with a little than miserable with much. The social media and celebrity craze drives this search of the young for connectedness which only comes from serving others. To serve other people connects us in a universally poignant way that comes from nothing else we can do. It reminds us of our human connection to each other and how we must continue to strengthen those bonds. Technology would like for us to believe connection comes through devices, but without the human touch where is the connection? Our social skills are being eroded by technology, serving others helps to rebuild them. Technology is only a tool that can bring us together, but it can never replace the human interactions we all need. Let’s spend less time on our devices and more time being together.
There is a saying among indigenous people, I see you, but it doesn’t mean the same as we use it. Instead what it means is I acknowledge you and your right to be here. I am present here with you. When was the last time you were really present for someone? Without your baggage and your vacillating attention span between devices. The big thing today is multi-tasking, however some things require our full participation, our complete presence. It is hard to serve and not be present. I choose today to be a servant and not a celebrity.