The Futility of Fame, The Victory of Jesus 

December 01, 2021

“The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.”  Matthew 4:8

I hate to break it to you, but you are not going to be famous. 

Neither am I, for that matter. 

Okay…technically speaking, we have a chance at fame, but the odds are definitely not in our favor. According to this video, we have: 

1 in 1,505,000 chance of becoming a movie star

24,500 to 1 odds of becoming a professional athlete

1 in 505,347 chance of becoming a YouTube star

Even if we somehow beat these overwhelming odds and attain a small measure of fame, the prophet Isaiah cuts us back down to size, “all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field” (Isaiah 40:6). 

In other words, any kind of momentary glory or fame we achieve is exactly that: momentary. It’s here today, gone tomorrow, as the beauty of a flower wilting in the hot sun.  

So, isn’t it silly to build our lives around the infinitesimal possibility that we’ll one day be famous?

But perhaps you’re thinking, “I don’t want to be a YouTube sensation or a movie star. This doesn’t really apply.” 

Don’t be so sure. Take a close look at the depths of your soul. The desire for fame and attention often manifests itself in very subtle ways:  

We crave recognition of our talents/achievements from our colleagues.  

We feel better about ourselves when a social media post gains a certain number of “Likes.” 

We long to be in the “popular” crowd in our office, neighborhood, or school. 

Though less obvious, these are pursuits of a fame that is just as fleeting as trying to get your name engraved on Hollywood Boulevard. 

In one way or another, the desire for fame lives in all of us.  (Yes, me too.)  

But take heart. Where we fail, Jesus succeeds. 

You might have never thought of it from this perspective, but Jesus was offered instant fame, power, and prestige. 

Weakened from fasting 40 days in the desert, Jesus was famished and utterly exhausted. Satan, always conniving and scheming, attacked when Jesus was most vulnerable to temptation.   

He offered Jesus a sinful shortcut: 

Jesus could immediately reign over all of the kingdoms of the earth, if He would only bow down and worship him.

 Stop and think of what hangs in the balance:  

  • If Jesus gives in, He forfeits His Father’s plan for the salvation of the world. 
  • If He gives in, we are forever lost in our sin and never experience peace with God, the indwelling Holy Spirit, or countless other blessings of His glorious grace.  

Yet, at the same time, think of how enticing this must’ve been to Jesus’ humanity.  

Calvary was coming. And He knew it.

Jesus could’ve had power without the pain. Or as one pastor says, “a crown without the cross.”

But in that very moment, Jesus rejected the short-lived pleasures of fame for the eternal joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).  Aren’t you glad He did?

So, fall to your knees and worship Jesus. Acknowledge the futility of living for the fame of your name.

Then, go out into the world and increase the fame of His.

Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH