If you had to choose, would you rather be FAMOUS in your own lifetime and soon forgotten…or be OBSCURE in your own time and remembered long after?
It’s a question that is more relevant today than ever before. One of the fascinating developments of our present culture is the incredible value it places on fame. In fact, today there is a phenomenon never before seen – people who are famous for nothing more than being famous. They haven’t accomplished anything memorable or become anything extraordinary. They have simply found a way to get in the eye of the camera and continue doing notorious-enough things to stay there.
A recent Pew Research poll indicates that younger Americans for the first time have made “being famous” one of their highest goals in life. Culture today encourages us to get as much attention as quickly as we can instead of making the greatest impact possible for time to come.
So, honestly now: Would you take FAME now or IMPACT later?
Today Oswald Chambers is one of the best selling authors of all time, but 100 years ago when he died he wouldn’t have had any inkling it could ever be so. He died unexpectedly at the young age of 43 and was at the time relatively unknown. He had lived his life passionately serving God but in obscure places. For traveled for a few years as an itinerate preacher and then taught briefly at a couple of small colleges. He established his own Bible school in London, but it closed its doors after just four years. In World War I he went to Egypt as a military chaplain, which is where he died tragically of a ruptured appendix.
He did write one book before he died. It remains a largely unnoticed little volume on the book of Job called “Baffled to Fight Better.” But despite the lack of recognition, wherever Oswald went he poured out his heart. Classrooms in Ohio, churches in Japan, and army tents in Egypts – he invested the truth of God into the lives of others.
And by his side through it all was his wife Biddy. Trained as a court stenographer, she made copious, personal notes of every talk she heard him give. It was only after his death that she began to write out his words and pass them along to others. Because of her efforts, Oswald became one of the greatest Christian authors of all times. Today there are thirty books which bear his name. His devotional “My Utmost for His Highest” is the number one devotional book of all time having sold millions – but all this impact was AFTER his own time.
- So who was the most famous athlete in 1917?
- Do you remember who the governor of your state was in 1917?
- How about the richest person in your town?
They were famous then. They’re mostly forgotten now.
In 1917 Oswald Chambers was buried in a cemetery in the Egyptian desert, his passing little noticed by the world. However, a century later millions know his name and untold lives have been impacted around the globe for the Kingdom of God.
Today I want to encourage you to serve God with faithfulness wherever you are with whatever you’ve got, passionately investing your life for Kingdom impact that will long endure and not for attention that will quickly fade.
“But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.” (II Chronicles 15:7)