So just who are you awestruck by?
Probably most of us can think of someone that if we knew we had an opportunity to meet we would be all agog and flustered about. We would spend heaps of time and energy to properly present ourselves to some esteemed and greatly loved and admired person. Perhaps it is the Queen or some other world leader. It might be a Hollywood celebrity, or some megastar rocker.
Most of us tend to have those that we look up to, or idolise, or put on a pedestal, or almost worship and adore. We can sometimes almost consider some people to be demigods – so highly do we value and esteem them. There is nothing wrong – generally speaking – with having role models and looking up to some people that you aspire to be like, especially if they are worthy people to emulate.
All sorts of examples come to mind of this. A budding painter may have the highest regard for certain great painters both past and present – say a Rembrandt or a Vermeer. A young basketballer may look up to (in more ways than one) a Shaquille O’Neal or a Michael Jordan.
A wannabe rocker may very much adore a Mick Jagger or an Elvis Presley. An aspiring guitarist may almost worship a Jimi Hendrix or an Eric Clapton. A young poet may strive to be the next Shakespeare. And an up and coming actor may want to be the next Clark Gable or Tom Hanks.
Plenty of other such scenarios could be mentioned here. One notable example of big-time hero worship occurred last night on a television show I happened upon. It had to do with the world of cooking. A number of contestants – both amateurs and professionals – were set a challenge by one of the icons of the cooking world.
On this particular episode of MasterChef Australia these young cooks had their world rocked as they walked into the cooking arena only to find Marco Pierre White, the famous British chef who has been awarded three Michelin stars, standing before them. Talk about being awestruck.
They all seemed to be in shock and awe, trembling in their boots. One of the great heroes of the culinary world was in their midst. They were blown away and almost dumbfounded. And things got even more hardcore when they were told to cook something that he would be tasting and judging. And worse yet, it was one of his own dishes that they had to replicate.
Needless to say, upon learning of their task the contestants were now doubly shaking in their boots. Just imagine: THEIR own cooking would be tasted by this superstar chef. No one wanted to disappoint him. Everyone wanted to impress him and please him. There was so much at stake. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and they just could NOT blow it. What an opportunity.
In case you are wondering, in the end an amateur cook originally from Venezuela won the challenge. You can imagine how she felt after winning that contest. She was over the moon. And she will have stories to tell to her kids and grandkids for the rest of her life.
Spiritual moral of the story
I belabour all this because, as you can probably imagine, I usually have a spiritual angle to put on most things. As a Christian, I cannot but help think of some biblical truths that might be gleaned from such an incident. One obvious truth is this: the only real and ultimate object of admiration, adoration and emulation – indeed, full-on worship – is of course the living God.
It is God that we should totally be in awe of. It is God that should make us want to be and to do the very best we can. It is God who we should seek to please all the time. It is God who we should care greatly about disappointing or letting down.
No human being can ever come close. Rock-star celebrities – in whatever arena – can only go so far as those we greatly admire and want to be like. All of them will disillusion us and fail us one way or another. None of them deserve our full and total devotion and admiration, no matter how great they are in a given area.
As to this TV show last night, I am no authority on White, but a quick bit of online digging around reveals that while he indeed is a superlative chef, his personal life may leave a lot to be desired. As such, he is not an ideal role model, regardless of how great a cook he is.
Jesus Christ is the one person to walk the earth who IS worthy of all our love, all our awe, all our attention, all our devotion, and all our worship. He alone is worthy, full stop. He is the one and only person that we can 100 per cent commit to, idolise and be gobsmacked about.
As I said above, there can be a place for looking up to role models. Christians can learn much from other believers. They can grow in grace as they stay close to great saints – both living and those that have departed. Surrounding ourselves with godly, on-fire and sold-out Christians is almost always a good thing.
The Apostle Paul could even urge other believers to follow him, and let him be an example for them. But of course he went on to say that they should follow him as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). So there is a place for letting other believers be a role model for us, and an inspiration for us. But even then, we should not hold them up on a pedestal nor put all our faith in them.
To be inspired by and seek to emulate other great Christians is always a good thing. But ultimately it is Jesus Christ that we should always seek to be an imitator of and always be overawed by and impressed with. He alone should leave us starstruck as we behold him in all his glory, beauty, truth and wonder.
As I say, I am no authority on White in particular or on gastronomy in general. I do know that I like to eat! But I also know that I will never be wealthy enough to taste some of these fancy dandy dishes put out by top chefs, be they White or Gordon Ramsey (a protege of White) or Heston Blumenthal or Jamie Oliver or anyone else. So I may have to wait till the next life to discover what a real fine dining experience is all about!
(Of course if I have any quite rich readers out there who think at least once in my life I SHOULD be able to taste such elegant fares, you can feel free to take me out to some highfalutin restaurant some time – I won’t say no to such an offer!)