By Robert J. Tamasy
One of the most profound clichés I have ever heard is so simple it is easy to ignore: “Fame is fleeting.” Think about it: A musician records a hit tune that soars to the top of the sales charts, but hit song No. 2 never comes. Years later the “one-hit wonder” no longer appears in a “Who’s Who” listing of famous people; instead, you might find him relegated to “Who’s He?”
Candidates run for a major political offices, even for President. When they lose the election, however, they are soon forgotten. Some of us will forget they ever sought public office.
Patrick Morley, speaker and author of The Man in the Mirror and other thoughtful books, referred to this some time back when he wrote, “This morning I was trying to remember the name of the enormously successful businessman and iconic philanthropist in Tampa (Florida, U.S.A.) who once owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (professional football team). His name was constantly in the news. He was far more well-known that you or I will ever be, yet 10 years after the last time I heard his name, I can’t remember it. And there are many more just like him.” The path from fame to obscurity can be very short.
Morley then posed the question, “Who will remember your name 10 years after you die?” When we consider all of the people who once achieved fame and acclaim, whose names for a time were on everyone’s lips, only to fade into the forgotten, isn’t that an important question to ask ourselves?
The fundamental issue is not how to achieve long-lasting notoriety. Rather, it is what our priorities should be so that when our time in this life has ended, the impact of our lives – the legacy we have established – will continue through the lives of other people. We can pursue wealth, set lofty business goals, strive for recognition and status, or pursue any number of lifetime dreams. But if we have not made a meaningful, positive impact in the lives of the people we encounter from day to day, ultimately nothing else will matter.
Consider the life of Jesus Christ. His formal ministry on earth lasted only three years. During that span He touched thousands of lives, but most significantly Jesus invested many hours in teaching and discipling a handful of men from a variety of backgrounds. These were not the MBAs, top executives or elite citizens of their day. Yet 2,000 years later, His impact in their lives – which they passed along to many others – can be seen in countless millions of people around the world.
The apostle Paul offered this perspective: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen…what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
So we ask the question again: Who will remember your name 10 years after you die? None of us, of course, will approach the impact of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But we can be involved in His eternal, life-changing work during the fleeting years we have remaining. British missionary C.T. Studd said it well in a poem: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” What are you pursuing with your life that will last – for eternity?
© 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.
1. Every year magazines name “the most influential person of the year” and “newsmaker of the year”? Without checking, can you identify who was the person honored by your favorite publication 10 years ago?
2. Why is it, do you think, that many people who command media attention experience brief moments of fame and popularity, and then are forgotten? What does that tell us about the enduring significance of their accomplishments?
3. If you had to give an answer right now, who do you think will remember your name 10 years after you die? And why?
4. What things are you presented engaged in that you think can make an impact for eternity? Do you think we should even evaluate our activities in light of eternity? Why or why not?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages:
Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Corinthians 7:31; 2 Timothy 2:10,15; 1 Peter 5:10; 1 John 2:17