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Famous in a small town.

I have a confession to make. It might make you shake your head in wonder about me, but here it goes… I love American Idol. I can’t help it. Something about it draws me in every single season. Each year I find myself sitting on the couch watching the crowds of thousands gather to audition in hopes of making it through to the next round. I’m watching the end of the first auditions, and my math brain gets the better of me. Out of thousands, maybe even one hundred thousand people, only twenty-four will be chosen to compete. The percentage is low… really, really low. So many leave heartbroken over not getting a chance to be famous. And so begins the question, “what makes a person famous in the first place?”

Around these parts when it comes to kids, I’m known as Mrs. Stacy. My husband laughs because there are times when we go into a local store and you hear a child say my name. He calls himself Mrs. Stacy’s husband and I respond in Miranda Lambert fashion, “Hey, everybody dies famous in a small town.” All those thousands striving to become the American Idol and I wonder. Do they realize a big stage and fans screaming do not make you famous?

To me famous describes the one I graduated high school with who took a few wrong turns and now sings in a local church about freedom. Its the coach who lines up the fleet on Wednesdays and gives his time to the the kids in our community. It’s the woman who lost her husband to cancer this year, and now fights the same battle herself with a grace that leaves me blessed each time I see her.

This little town tucked under tall pines has the most famous people I know. Nurses in emergency rooms whose compassion provides strength when your friend’s dad has passed away. The children’s librarian who travels around reading books to toddlers. The biology teacher who taught me what I needed to know to make it through college. Moms rising early to prepare lunches for school children complete with napkin notes. Husbands and sons that give up Saturday time to build garden beds because this momma likes to play in the dirt.

The one who cleans church toilets and sweeps glitter… the grandmother holding the hand of the child she brings to church every Sunday… hands preparing meals for those who can’t… hard working dads… writers of encouraging notes… prayer warriors circling church parking lots… smiling greeters at Walmart… bible study leaders… the school counselor who knows no stranger. This is what I call famous. These are American Idols who stand under The Light of the World… embracing each day as a stage to stand on and declare His love.

This kind of fame is no low percentage chance. Its one drama where we all have a part to play. There is no audition or question whether we’ll make it. In Christ, we’ve already made the cut. No, we won’t be perfect and some notes will fall flat. Perfection or fame is not what Jesus asks from us. He achieved perfection so we don’t have to. His requirements are summed up in two simple statements.

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”–Matthew 22:37-40 The Message

Loving God and loving others. Now that’s our ticket to fame!

By the way, I did actually sit in the same room with a famous person yesterday for the first time ever. He sang a beautiful song that brought tears to many. And me, well I didn’t even have the guts to ask for an autograph.

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