Life trials of the rich and famous

Why does fame lure so many when so few stories of fame ever end well?

A component of our makeup is built for impact; it’s destined for greatness. We have a drive to influence a sphere beyond our immediate reach. Hollywood, Nashville, New York and Washington, D.C., owe their notoriety to this. Desktop publishing of videos, photos and text make the desire more acute.

But for every 100 people who can handle adversity, only 1 who can handle prosperity. Most lack the foundation of character necessary to handle the weight of fame.

Reversely, fame reduces one’s freedom. Paparazzi and adoring fans encircle the famous like prison wardens around an inmate. Handlers and money-minded agents offer another layer of incarceration. Activities as human as visiting a coffee shop with a friend become next to impossible.

So, the stars of one minute become the rehab patients of the next. Those who looked so happy under the lights now look so sad under the weight.

Why do we follow them? Why do we cheer for them? Their meteoric rises convince us that there is more out there than bills and leaks and struggles. Their precipitous falls comfort us that our lives are not so bad after all.

GQ interviewed Billy Ray Cyrus for its March edition. The soon-to-be divorced father of Disney’s Hannah Montana said he wished none of it had ever happened.

“For my family to be here and just be everybody okay, safe and sound and happy and normal, would have been fantastic. Heck, yeah. I’d erase it all in a second if I could.”

Kudos to Mr. Achy Breaky Heart for his heartfelt honesty.

They all would erase it all if they could. They all would go back to minimum wage jobs and coffee shops and friends for friendship’s sake. They all would exchange the kingdoms they couldn’t handle for the character to see through the shine.

A married New York Congressman resigned last week after failing to resist the urge to send a shirtless self-portrait to a woman he met online. Another example of a king lacking character.

We desperately need artists, actors, musicians, CEOs and politicians with character. We need modern day “celebrities” with the kind of fame that the Old Testament hero Joshua had: “The Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land” (Joshua 6).

We need to teach our kids about the demises, not just the rises, of celebrities. We must show them that chasing after fame and fortune ends in disaster and tragedy more times than not. Many more.

May we model that it is far more worthwhile to build a solid character that can handle the fame that God gives should he, in fact, decide to give it.

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