Justin Bieber’s a mop-haired, 16-year-old pop/soul singer who’s become the latest heartthrob for the teeny-bopper set. A YouTube video shows a little girl weeping because she “loves” Justin so much. He’s already written a book – and it’s actually longer than five pages! (How could someone so young have much to say?)
I hope he enjoys the fame while it lasts, because it probably won’t. When our girls were little, they adored New Kids on the Block. Who? Where are they now? A few years ago, the Jonas Brothers were the rage. They’re still around, but fading fast. Ten years from now, will young Justin be just another “who”?
Fame, correctly stated, is fleeting. At my exercise class they play a CD consisting of “one-hit wonders,” songs by groups that rocketed to the top and plummeted just as fast. Would you want your legacy to start with, “Whatever happened to…?”
A legacy is established not by long life, but how we live the years we have. I think of people who died relatively young: individuals like Oswald Chambers, 43, whose devotional books bless millions almost 100 years after his death; Dawson Trotman, 50, founder of The Navigators international ministry; and David Brainerd, 29, and Jim Elliot, 28, both missionaries.
Their earthly lives only shone briefly, like candles, yet their impact – through words, inspiration and vision – continues in the lives and hearts of people around the globe. In a world where we can move so quickly from “Who’s Who” to who’s he, it’s important to focus on things that will endure. That’s why I appreciate the last words of a poem by C.T. Studd, a missionary to China, India and Africa at the turn of the 20th century:
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.