As I was driving to work yesterday morning, I heard an interview with actor Harry Shearer who was talking about the entertainment industry's infatuation with awards. He joked about the people who get all worked up about the little trophies, but at the same time admitted that it was easy to get caught up in the meaningless awards. His claim was that most awards were, essentially, bought and paid for by movie studios and production houses and their publicists. The statuettes don't really mean anything when it comes to acting or entertaining. It's all a sham.
Certainly that's just one man's opinion. Okay, it's probably the opinion of a whole lot of people -- mostly those without trophies on the mantle at home. But the glitter and glamour of winning an award draws on the egos of entertainers and the hopes and dreams of the entertained.
I recently heard that for an overwhelming majority of young people, the main goals in their lives are to become rich (first choice) and famous (second choice). They either want to hold aloft the trophy checkbook/lifestyle or the trophy popularity rating. It's all about me.
When I got to work yesterday, I found out that my main task for the day was to look back over my work for the past year and pick out my best to submit for awards. I've got to admit that I felt funny about the whole process. First, I really didn't remember doing any work that would stand out in any kind of statewide competition. Second, I really didn't want to bother reliving the past year. But third, something inside me kept nudging me, saying, "Wouldn't that be great to win?"
The more I looked over my work for 2006, the more I remembered. I really did do a pretty good job on many of the projects I took on during the year. Maybe I really am worthy of a trophy, or a plaque, or whatever they hand out.
Then came the realization that the acclaim of man isn't really worth the trouble. Granted, I try to do my best in whatever I do (although my wife may argue that point), but I'm not really seeking fame and fortune for myself. Isn't that weird?
I'm uncomfortable in the role of celebrity. I'm don't like celebrating myself. Maybe it's because I know myself too well and realize that the celebration would be pretty hypocritical. Or maybe it's simply a matter of wanting to focus on anything besides me. Sure, I enjoy being told that something I did was enjoyed by someone else, but not to make me more important or popular. I delight in a job well done.
I've always been curious about John the Baptist, who told his disciples that once Jesus arrived on the scene that "He must become greater, and I must become less." Today's celebrity culture would have laughed at the Baptist derisively and chucked tomatoes and stale locusts at him. But John knew that it wasn't about winning earthly awards or the acclaim of man. It's not about the earthly awards, it's the heavenly rewards that matter.
I hope I never lose that perspective, and I thank God for it. But I know the temptation is only amplified through the worldly culture surrounding me and you.