Greek mythology has it that King Midas demanded for a supernatural gift from a god to have anything he touched turn to gold. He was overjoyed at first until his food, water and his daughter turned to gold. The gift became a burden he could not bear.
It is amazing how many talented people have committed suicide or died from drug overdose over the years. From Ernest Hemingway to Heath Ledger, it is mind-boggling. In the last two years, a number of sportsmen, musicians and thespians have joined this depressing list. Other talented people like Oscar Wilde did not commit suicide or die from drug overdose but came to a ruinous end. Most people would slit their throats to have the talents these stars have and the accoutrements that come with such gifts. Alas, it seems the load of their aptitude crushes and buries them beneath the dirt of death. For me it is quite a conundrum because you would think that these ones have everything rosy to live for. One would think these celebrities would never want to die. I would never want to if I were in their shoes.
The answer to this brainteaser came to me a couple of days back as I was on my way to work listening to my favourite Christian band, Jesus Culture. The song was “Burning Ones”. One of the stanzas goes thus….
So let this love be like a fire
Let our lives be like a flame
Fill our souls with your desire
Let our passion bring you fame.
This I believe is the missing link to the puzzle and herein comes the X-men. The X-men and The Teen Titans are my favourite team of Super Heroes ever. However, I feel I have this special bond with the X-men, as whacky as that might sound.
The X-men are a collection of people with special gifts. Their gifts were a yoke they would rather have dispensed with until they meet Professor Xavier who became their mentor. Prof. Xavier knew power without control guarantees disaster, therefore he taught them how to contain and control their power. For example, Cyclops, one of the X-men released an uncontrollable energy beam from his eyes but Professor Xavier gave him a visor to manage, target and focus the blasts. They surrendered their gifts and submitted to the leadership of their revered teacher. The Professor made them accept their natural gifts, maximize them and use them to save the world. That way, they attained a measure of peace that had eluded them before they met him.
God is much more than Professor Xavier. He put the gifts in us and until we release the gifts back to him, we are at risk of self destruction. He is the One that can help us deploy our gifts in a way that would be of the uttermost benefit to mankind. For example, Paul the Apostle was an immensely talented Juggernaut, unleashing destruction everywhere until he encountered God. His passion, zeal and talents were now focused towards giving life and not death.
Remember Lucifer? He was loaded with talent and was a celebrity in heaven. He was so gifted that he released music when he moved but he rebelled therefore committing professional and eternal suicide. His gift got to his head; he became a victim of pride. The dude wanted to play God and got thrown down to dirt for his hubris. What is happening to present day celebrities is what has been since time took its first tottering steps.
Truth is, when people are exceptionally talented it makes them tend towards becoming God; the paparazzi want to snap even their shadows, tons of writers are ready to pen down the nature of their fart in graphic details. Their self-importance makes them want to usurp their Maker and that makes them vulnerable to self-destruction. The person and position of the Almighty is one we do not have the capacity for. We were made to worship not to be worshiped. When this reversal happens we become like Icarus who flew too near the sun with wings of feathers and wax. He ignored the instructions his father gave him so his feathers melted and he crashed into the sea where he drowned.
For us to escape becoming victims of our gifts, the lyrics above become so essential. We must surrender all and become suffused with God’s love. Our lives must become filled with His desire and we must start living with the consciousness that our passions and talents should bring him fame. Our gifts should be used to serve him. Paul did that! God must be the focus, the center around which all revolves. It is not about the gift but the Giver!
We must be consumed with and by Him! I absolutely love the words Chris Quilala, one of Jesus Culture’s lead singers used to end the aforementioned song:
“Our hearts are burning, burning for You”.
…FOR WE HAVE THESE TREASURES IN EARTHEN VESSELS THAT THE EXCELLENCY OF THE GLORY MIGHT BE OF GOD AND NOT OF US……
© 2013 Ekpo Ezechinyere