Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to Measure a Life

20,000 people went to the Taylor Swift concert in Tacoma last Wednesday.  When she walked out onto the stage the sound from the crowd was deafening.  I had to plug my ears. Yes, I was there. I have two teenagers and we promised them that if Taylor ever came close to our small town we’d go to the big city and listen to her sing.

It was incredible. Kids had decorated tee-shirts that bore her name and carried signs that lit up so you could see them in the dark. There was a one-hour wait at the merchandise table. Three teenage boys behind us randomly yelled out, “We love you, Taylor!” at the top of their lungs.  And they were definitely not alone in that practice. At one point she ran through the crowd on her way to a smaller stage at the other end of the dome, shaking hands and hugging people as she went.  The minute she left the stage bodies flooded down to the main floor and pressed to get a glimpse, a touch. The stage was surrounded by fans reaching out towards her.  After each song the screaming was so loud I had to go back to ear plugging. I’d never seen anyone so worshipped in my life.

I like Taylor more than most celebrities.  Her concert was clean enough for young children to be there, and according to the press she has certainly tried to live a wholesome life.  Some of the text messages that flashed on the screen before the show read, “You’re my inspiration, Taylor!” and I think she’s a better role model than the majority of famous people.

But as I sat there watching one twenty year old girl become the focus of the most amazing attention I’d ever seen, I was struck by an interesting reality.  I know that God loves her, but I have no idea how he views her life.  I imagine that her desire to live a wholesome life in the midst of a truly corrupt industry can be a way to bring light to darkness and that could be pleasing to God. But I don’t know and it isn’t my place to say one way or the other.  Regardless,  the most famous and admired people in the world may not have as much positive impact as one quiet soul who is living to please God and being faithful to the ministry God called him (or her J) to.  If we could see the network of affect that our lives and actions have, what would we see? If we could be like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life and watch the difference our life makes, would we be surprised by the far reaching impact our choices to serve God have made? 

I’ll never be Taylor Swift, but my eternal impact could be greater. I’m not thinking of that competitively, but rather, I was struck deeply by how much things are not what they seem in this world. What the world thinks of me is truly irrelevant in the face of what God thinks of me.  I’m back to that deepening awareness that He is the only one who assesses my value and my life. 20,000 screaming fans looks like the place to be, but in actuality, the place to be is in the center of God’s will for my life. That is the one place that matters. I came away from our experience more determined than ever to be committed to the life God has called me specifically to live.

What has God specifically called you to do?

Philippians 3:13-14
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

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