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What is fame?… and should I seek it?

So Declan Donnelly has managed it – he presented, the last show recorded at ITV’s London Studios, without his 29 year on-screen partner Ant McPartlin. By all accounts it was an emotional affair and according to onlookers he ‘looked nervous to start with’ and his ‘relief afterwards was telling’. But he carried it off. Dec said himself “I wasn’t sure how I was going to do [it] or how you were going to react … but you carried me all the way through the show”, referring to the audience.

It has got me thinking about partnerships; about who we rely on, and from where we get our strength.

I have said for many years the world of celebrity is somewhat out of control. With the advent of reality television that arguable started with MTV’s ‘The Real Word’ in 1992 and has grown into a huge industry spawning many programs from Big Brother and X-Factor, to The Biggest Loser and The Apprentice. We have of course with technology morphed into the on-line world of celebrity where gamers, bloggers and You-Tubers have massive followings and celebrity status.

Fame and celebrity has for some become an end in itself and a goal for many. But what does that life bring? With the fame, adulation and generally substantial financial rewards – can you assume happiness will follow? What about a responsible life and living for the service and benefit of others?

I guess I have had a wee brush with some very minor ‘celebrity’ over the past month or so. With articles about my previous life as a nightclub owner on the Church of Scotland website, in the local press and an interview on BBC Radio Scotland, I have been left asking myself how does this make me feel? And do you know, I’m not sure I like it. I get the interest angle — London nightclub owner becomes minister in the Kirk — but it isn’t about me. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about God. My previous life has been left behind, so is it appropriate to have it splashed about and a short moment of ‘fame’ come from it? I thought not.

But then following the radio broadcast a man was passing the church the next day with his son, as I was changing the posters on the railings, and he said “are you the man who was on the radio yesterday—that nightclub bouncer”. I’ll forgive him the slight discrepancy but what transpired was a conversation about church, faith and the relevancy of it today. His experience is that it’s all yawn, yawn and pretty boring. But having heard me he thought perhaps it wasn’t all like that now.

I have no idea what he will take away from the conversation, whether he might one day follow-up his thought about whether church is still boring, (even if it ever was!), and go and check it out for himself. But I do know that God uses our testimony to speak into others lives. So what is my testimony—you will maybe have read it in the newspaper or heard it on the radio, but that is only an edited snapshot. Really, only God truly knows our full testimony and that’s as it should be. But the testimony that should matter and be shared with others is about our relationship with God—how he has saved us; how he works in our lives; and how through that we want him to work in the lives of those we meet. The truth of the matter is that my testimony can be summed up thus—

  1. I used to rely on myself, very much me, myself and I.
  2. In turning to God, I now seek to rely on God, always giving him the glory and the thanks for all I have and all that I am.

So, the reliance for my being, who I am and how I am perceived does and should not rest on me or another. I of course have those on whom I depend and rely—my wife; my children and family; the elders and office bearers of Gillespie Church and the congregation; my fellow clergy, but I should not place them at the top. Showbiz partnership’s like Ant & Dec, Morecombe & Wise, the Two Ronnie’s have enduring appeal but when one is no longer working with the other, they inevitably are somewhat diminished. Our lives too might be diminished by the loss of those who support us, but know that with God first in you life, you will always be of supreme value.

You need not look anywhere else for someone to ‘carry you through the show’ of life. God should be centre stage in the ‘reality show’ that is your life.

Fame is only fleeting, but to know and be known by Christ is eternal.

Yours in Christ, Lord and Saviour

Pastor Mike




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