May I have your autograph?
An apparently harmless question asked countless times by countless fans to countless people of fame.
I remember standing in line for hours to get autographs from popular college football stars growing up. I waited with heightened anticipation for the scribble proving that I’d met somebody famous.
Fast forward a few years and I find myself standing in line once again to get an autograph from a few of my favorite famous musicians. I recall plotting the exact time to exit the concert so I’d get in the signing line early enough to make sure I’d get an autograph and not have to stay too late.
As I waited impatiently for the line to diminish person by person, I planned out exactly what I was going to say once I got to the front of the line.
“Hey. I love your music. It’s impacted my life so much,” I’d say, as confidently as I could muster. “Could I get a picture with you?”
*snap* The camera captures a moment in time.
My time is up. The line continues moving. I quickly scan the tiny preview screen on my digital camera and scrutinize my pictoral proof that I just met someone famous.
“Ugh..I look terrible in this picture,” I think to myself. “But wow…they…they look awesome. They always look awesome.” *gasp* “Wow, they put their arm around me. I’ve got a picture of me with this famous person and they have their arm on me. They touched me. Wow! I’ll remember this forever!”
As I walk away, I turn my scrutiny to my conversation with the famed musicians. Upset with myself that my words sounded stupid and shaky, I begin to beat myself up over what I said. And what I didn’t say. “I’ll do better next time,” I assure myself. “Hey, at least I met them.”
Have you ever found yourself in a similar scenario?
I think at one point everybody’s wanted somebody’s autograph. Favorite athlete, musician, movie star…whatever.
Not only do individuals pursue autographs in person, but record companies, distributors and websites use autographs to sell product. Particularly in the music business. A consumer is more apt to buy a CD if it’s got an autograph. CDs are automatically of higher value if they’ve got someone’s name scribbled with a Sharpie.
Going further, fans will spend tens, hundreds, thousands and even millions of dollars on raffles and auctions vying to win an autographed memento.
With all this waiting, money spending and anticipation, normal people are made into marketable business commodities.
I don’t know about you, but I see something wrong with that.
When exactly did people become product? When did it become ok to yearn to have somebody’s signature? When did all of this idolatry sneak in? And why does nobody see autographs as a form of idolatry?
I can hear Satan taunting me now, “Lindsay, this blog is stupid. You’re overreacting. It’s just an autograph. It’s harmless. Your friends are going to think you’re dumb for writing this. They’ll ridicule you. Don’t make such a big deal out of this.”
Well, if Satan’s telling me not to write this, then that means that writing it is exactly what I should do.
I’m totally cool with people meeting other people. By all means, stand in line to meet somebody and have a conversation with them if that’s the only way that you’ll ever meet them. But don’t put them above God. Don’t focus more of your attention and admiration on a person more than you focus it on God. When you fixate on anything more than God, that’s idolatry.
I love meeting new people–yes even famous people. But recently my motive for meeting others has changed. Instead of wanting to meet someone just to have the bragging rights that I met them, I now desire to meet Christian people so I can listen to them talk about their passions and desires in life.
I no longer desire someone’s hand-written autograph. I do, however, want to encounter the Signature of the Divine. Each person who has a personal relationship with Jesus, is marked with the signature of God.
“13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” — Ephesians 1:13-14, emphasis mine.
Instead of striving for someone’s printed autograph, invest your energies into encountering God with every Christian person that you come in contact with. Familiarize yourself with the Signature of the Divine in others. And, whenever possible, show the Signature of the Divine to those in your life who don’t know Jesus.
May I have your Signature of the Divine?