When I was in high school, I co-founded the heavy metal band “Cell.” A lot of people don’t remember my band. They must have not attended our performance at my high school’s Sadie Hawkins dance in 2001. That’s okay. I’m not offended.
Unfortunately, our bassist moved to North Carolina and the band broke up.
That’s the end of that story.
I like music a lot, but I started a band because I wanted to be a celebrity. I learned to play guitar and practiced for hours every day after school. Our band performed a Rage Against the Machine song at our school’s talent show and received a unified review from the student body, “Really white honor-roll students shouldn’t rap in front of people.” Maybe that’s when the dream actually died.
When I became a Christian, my quest for fame morphed into a longing to leave a legacy. I read a bunch of books about Francis of Assisi and thought, I want to be remembered after I die.
I wanted to leave a legacy of doing beautiful and altruistic things. Living amongst the poor and comforting the destitute.
Legacy is a funny thing. It can drive us to do wonderful things with our lives. But we’ll never see it, being dead and all.
The truth is this. One day I’ll stand in the heavenly realm gazing at the brightest light I’ve ever seen. That light will be Jesus. I’ll be in the middle of a crowd of people likewise staring at the brightness of Jesus. And everyone will be singing and shouting, “Jesus! Holy is the Lamb who was slain! Jesus is Lord!” Everyone in the crowd will fall on their knees, still shouting and singing.
Then I’ll lean over, close to the ear of the person next to me, and try to raise my voice over all the noise, “THE NEIGHBORHOOD WAS CALLED MIDTOWN. I WALKED MY DOG THROUGH IT EVERY DAY.”
The person will look at me, confused.
“MIDTOWN.” I’ll repeat to clarify.
When Rachel and I walk through our neighborhood’s park, we hear screaming fans. They run up to us on the sidewalk and try to get our attention.
And they are all under the age of 12.
They don’t care what we’ve accomplished, what songs we wrote in high school or how many people we’ve influenced.
What these kids seem to care about most is whether or not we remember their names.
And that’s it.
I’ll tell you what. If you want to feel like a celebrity, get to know some kids. Learn their names and listen to them talk about their lives.
Jesus doesn’t care if people remember me when I’m gone. He really, really doesn’t.
But he does care if his followers love people.
And he does care if we recognize his goodness.
And one of the things that made Jesus good was the fact that he knelt down, opened his arms wide, and said, “Let the children come to me.”