The Famous Forgotten Man

People used to pass out when they saw him.

He belonged to a legendary group of musicians who were said to be more popular than Jesus.

He does not go by the title of Mr. or even Dr. No, his official title is Sir.

Like him or not, all of modern music can be traced back to this man’s work.

But who is he?

That’s the exact question that some people are asking. You’ve probably heard of him before. His name is Paul McCartney. Excuse me. Sir Paul McCartney. But even after hearing his name, there is a generation of music lovers who still respond with that one question.

Who is he?

Last week Kanye West released a song on iTunes about his late mother and newborn daughter entitled Only One. For help on the song, West called on that legendary rock and roll icon who used to be more popular than Jesus and make people pass out at concerts. Sir Paul McCartney.

After hearing the song, here’s how some of West’s fans reacted on Twitter.

“I don’t know who Paul McCartney is, but Kanye is going to give this man a career w/ this new song!!”

“This is why i love kanye for shining light on unknown artists.”

“I still don’t know who Paul MacArthur is.”

So there you have it. Sir Paul McCartney has been reduced to an unknown artist who goes by the name of Paul MacArthur. You can draw your own conclusions about the pop music literacy and taste of Kanye’s fans and you can start your own debates about the cultural impact of the Beatles versus that of Kanye but there is a greater point to be made here.

You will be forgotten.

No matter what you accomplish, people will forget your name.

No matter what hill you make it to the top of, it’s still a pretty small hill.

Even if you are called Sir now, you will eventually go by the title of Who.

That can be depressing news if your aim in life is to make a big name for yourself but it can be a healthy reminder if you care to live for something bigger than yourself.

Last Sunday I preached about perhaps the most overlooked person in the Christmas story. His name is Joseph. He was Jesus’ earthly father. We don’t get a lot of information on him. All we know is that God spoke to him through dreams, he did what God said and he led his family. And then, somewhere along the way, he died.

Are you okay with being remembered simply as someone who obeyed what God said and then died? Are you okay with being forgotten a generation or two later?

This Sunday I’ll preach about John the Baptist. He was no Sir but he still made a pretty big splash. Even still, he knew that he wasn’t put on earth to make a splash. Instead, he lived his life for one reason – to point others to Jesus.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2 (ESV)

Once Jesus went public with is ministry, it pretty much meant the end of John’s. That was okay with him. His job was to be the spotlight, not the person in it.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 (ESV)

Can you say that too? Are you honestly okay with doing away with whatever glory you may have for the glory of Jesus Christ?

You might end up doing big things in life. Maybe you’ll get your name in the paper. You may even have books written about you and your accomplishments. Just remember this. Eventually, you’ll be forgotten.

If you worship the god of self, that’s a tragic end to your story.

But if you live for something greater, it’s just a reminder to trust in Jesus and the great accomplishments he has already done for you.

Some work their way into the grave trying to make a bigger name for themselves. Little do they know that not long after the dirt is shoveled back into that hole, they will be forgotten.

Others resist the temptation to live for the momentary approval of man. They keep their eyes fixed on a better prize and their ears attuned to the only approval that really matters.

“Then the King will say to those on the right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'” Matthew 25:34 (ESV)

Which will it be for you?