There is a deep hunger for recognition and status in the world. The soul of humanity is on a quest for significance and the meaning of life. We fantasize we are on the pathway to becoming someone of renown. If I am a public speaker, I am not just a speaker but one of the greatest orators of all time. If I am a doctor, I can diagnose and cure diseases; no one else can heal. If I am a businessman, I will build the most successful business and make more money than anyone else. If I am a pastor, I will grow the most significant church for miles around. Everyone wants to be somebody that people will admire and worship. We thrive on the perceived admiration of others and die a slow death from a lack of it.
Decades ago in Readers Digest, a declaration done in jest was a profound life-truth. At twenty years old, you worry about what everyone thinks of you. At forty years old, you do not care what anyone thinks of you, and at sixty years old, you realize no one cared about you. It is amusing the scene of young girls and boys preparing for a prom or social event. The tears shed and hours of emotional drama in front of a mirror because the hair does not cooperate the right way. I want to say to each of them nobody cares about your hair or anything else. All your friends are preoccupied, just like you worrying about how they look. They are petrified, thinking everyone will see their flaws too. My darling child, nobody, cares. Don’t expect people to recognize all your accomplishments and abilities.
Seeking recognition and status apart from God leads to broken and shattered dreams. The recognition and status, we receive in this world, is all passing away.
In the 1970 movie “Patton” George C. Scott gives an Oscar-winning performance for his depiction of the beloved American General George S. Patton in World War II. At the end of the movie, Scott does a voiceover with these daunting words. It helps us understand the absurdity of war and fame. “For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters, musicians, and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in a chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.”
Let go of the need for recognition and status for like glory; it is all fleeting.