In the Presence of Celebrity

In the Presence of Celebrity

When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.” Genesis 18:3

My wife and I once saw a famous (probably the most famous) basketball player across the street while watching a parade. There were thousands of people around us, but no one else occupied our conversation as he did. If we’d have run into him personally, I’m sure I’d have said something super suave – Hi! You’re really tall. Everyone in the world knows this guy and if I’d have met him, his status would have turned my brain to mush. I’ve only met a few celebrities in my life, and I can confidently say two things. First, their celebrity status made me want to appear charming and clever. Second, their celebrity status turned me into a babbling idiot.

When we’re in the presence of others, it often changes our behavior. Depending on our company, we can act very differently. Sometimes, we’re kind in public and cranky at home. When we run into someone famous though, whom we respect, most of us will have some desire to please him or her. For some reason, I once offered my daughter’s cheesy fries to a famous musician when we ran into him backstage at a concert. My daughter still teases me about that.

My point is, that in the presence of those whom we perceive to be far above us, we often modulate our behavior, attempting to impress them. This is the tone that I read in today’s passage. In it, Abraham was sitting in his open tent, when he saw God and two angels, in the form of men, approaching him. He immediately jumped up, ran to them, and begged for the opportunity to serve them.

I’ve often thought that if God showed up at my door, that I’d do whatever he asked, just like Abraham. It seems like it must have been easy for Abraham to obey God, because God kept showing up telling him exactly what to do. Here’s my problem – As a Christian, I claim to believe God is with me constantly. I should always live as if God is standing next to me, observing me – because he is. This is the difference between knowledge and faith. I can know a thing to be true, but it’s not faith until that knowledge changes my behavior. If I truly believe that I’m living in the presence of the creator, then that belief must change how I think, talk, and act. God is telling me how to live. Daily now, I must do it.

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