On August 16, 1977, I was walking out of the break room at a K Mart in Arlington, Texas when I heard a news report. I was familiar with the person who was the focus of the story, and I knew his life had become a wreck. But, I was still surprised when I heard the news: Elvis is dead (see it here).
Elvis had succumbed to the same force that has more recently taken the life of Whitney Houston. The sparkle of fame had dimmed the bright hope that had once guided both of these very talented individuals. Even though both of them would still, at times, speak of their faith, the Light of the world was confined to a dark corner of their heart.
The misteps taken by Elivs, Whitney and others can be found in the words of a song made famous by Perry Como (listen here). To them, Jesus had become just a star to be hidden away and taken out when He was needed.
This saving-Jesus-for-a-rainy-day mentality is a result of what I call the Demas Syndrome. There are three places in the New Testament where Demas is mentioned. Paul referred to him with fondness twice; however, the third time, Paul wrote: Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me (2 Timothy 4:10).
Deserted me! He went AWOL–absent without leave! Demas was enticed by the fame and fortune of the world, and it led him away from The Way (John 14:6) Demas, Elvis, and Whitney were controlled by an insatiable hunger for more. More money and more fame are life pursuits that can leave a person empty and hollow.
When we talk about life pursuits, we are discussing values and virtures. Values can change but virtues never do. When a person’s values are estranged from Biblical-virtues he can begin to drift away into a life of insignificance.
Demas should have minded the message of his mentor, who said: I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, and godliness with contentment is great gain.
Here’s a thought to keep you thinking. The key to contentment is the content of your life. An appetite that is not God-centered will eventually be a center of godlessness.