It is unsettling to see so many public figures spiraling out of control. Their lives are fodder for nightly entertainment programs, blogs and podcasts that prosper by exposing and dispersing their unfortunate public exhibitions of stupidity. This is particularly true as it relates to young men and women whose gifts and talents position them to do so much good in this world if they were able to remain intact. I believe God has a unique purpose for each of us. He gifts some with great personal attributes so that they may do great things according to His divine plans. This is why the enemy works overtime to destroy or discredit these young lives before their potential is ever realized. What happens to cause such senseless waste of potential?
I propose one way such a tragedy takes place. In God's economy He has created the irrefutable law of gravity. Things that have mass have gravity. The greater the mass the greater the gravity. This law not only relates to inanimate objects but to people as well. So as a person's life becomes increasingly large he or she will draw more people around themselves. Jesus said, "And I, If I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to myself." (John 12:32) Jesus was of course talking about His death. When we magnify Jesus by sharing His great love for us then people will be drawn to Him. As He becomes greater He draws multitudes as a gravitational pull to His side.
So, as these talented and promising young stars get more attention and fame their mass increases. In essence they are "lifted up" in the eyes of millions who live vicariously through their misadventures. With gravity comes influence. It is intriguing to consider that although the moon is much smaller than the earth it greatly affects the way the earth behaves. So it is with us as our lives become more publicly exploited. Before long, these gifted young talents are acting in ways contrary to their nature and resembling more of those who have been attracted by their fame. Parents are replaced by managers and high school friends are squeezed out in favor of admiring fans.
I have also seen this is my world. Christian leaders, in a much smaller way than the music or movie industry, increase in popularity and influence. As their mass increases (no fat preacher jokes here please, I know what you are thinking) so does the number of followers. Before long the temptation is to change one's behavior according to the expectations of their admirers. Gravity is not a bad thing at all. After all God created the concept so it must have purpose. I have found that a large church has mass. The larger the church the greater the gravity. There is literally not a week out of the year where we are not visited by people who have never walked in the doors of our church. Each week we are seen in dozens of countries and 40 states over the internet. Our mass draws people. The question I have to ask is, "Who are we drawing them to?" If I draw them to myself then I am setting my life to spiral downward and waste the precious gifts He has given me for His glory. Yet, some Christian leaders do just that. They are often at the pinnacle of their success when they suddenly self destruct.
When Christian leaders fail the results are catastrophic. How do we guard against such catastrophic failure? By following the example set by the John the Baptist. He knew of gravity and the danger of allowing people to be drawn into orbit around himself. That is why he declared,
29 "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:29-30 (NKJV)
Paul knew the danger of gravity as well.
14 "I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 1 Corinthians 1:14-17 (NKJV)
So wherever God has placed you to excel, be careful to point others to Him. He is the one who prospers you so that you may be protected and that His name be exalted!