There is a subculture that exists that few of us will ever be part of. They are a small group of multimillionaire entertainers who allow us to glimpse into their worlds. They are rich beyond our wildest dreams. Most of them are under 30. So yeah, they’re young. Their fans willingly allow them to rule their style choices and song preferences. They are the ones who shape culture. I call them the Rich Young Rulers of Hollywood (RYROH) and you know who they are. They sing about being broken and damaged. They warn love interests about the perils of falling for them. In spite of their beauty, there is always a glorified pathology surrounding them, as though they are flawed at the deepest levels of themselves. Something is always missing in their indulgent, glossy, haute-coutured lives.
These people aren’t a new phenomenon. They’ve been around forever. Jesus met one once. This young man ran to Jesus, knelt as His feet and asked what he needed to do to get eternal life. Jesus felt sorry for him and told him to sell everything he had in order to obtain riches that last would forever. The young man went away sad because the cost of following Jesus was too high for him to pay. (Mark 10:17-27)
Look at these headlines:
These RYROH’s temporarily broke out of their rock-star, wild-child mold to seek (publically, I might add) for something deeper. Though immortalized, they still seek eternal life. Their sense of brokenness comes from not knowing the only One who can make them whole. After the sad young man walked away, Jesus made an even more implausible statement. He said it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for rich people to get into heaven. Does this mean it’s impossible for most of Hollywood to get to Heaven? The answer is yes. But it’s also impossible for bible-belt, republican-voting, church-going folk as well. Heaven is possible only with Jesus. Eternal life is through Christ. Not in our achievements, our backgrounds or ability to live clean lives. We are spiritually bankrupt without Jesus, despite everything we may own.
Jesus didn’t have a problem with the young man’s wealth and fame doesn’t bother Him either. He is plain about the fact that no one can serve two masters, however. The cost of following Jesus pales in comparison to the value of one soul. We get more than we give up when we choose to follow Christ. It’s not a list of rules and regulations. It’s an infusing of new life that changes every part of your being. People cannot mistake when you’ve been with Jesus. I believe many in Hollywood are at a crossroads. They have asked the question and now the choice is up to them. Before we point fingers at the RYROH, remember that those reading this are among the world’s richest. What are you still holding onto? I believe that if the young man had been willing to relinquish his fortune, Jesus would have let him keep it. It’s ok to own possessions as along as they don’t own us. Time will tell who the RYROH’s choose to surrender to. I pray that they don’t walk away sad.