If you could be famous for one thing, what would that one thing be?
One thing you excel at. One thing that you are appreciated for. One thing that will appear on your tombstone someday.
Keira Knightley? Zac Efron? Scarlett Johansson? Those looks. Lorde? Chris Cornell? Adele? That voice. Ron Jeremy? That..well, we won’t get into that.
Donald Trump has his hair. Tom Hanks? His acting skills. Peyton Manning? His arm. Alex Morgan? Her foot.
Of course, there are the Bo Jacksons, Arnold Schwarzeneggers and Jared Letos of the world that are legitimate two-sport stars. But for the most part, the rich and famous are rich and famous for one reason. One thing.
All of us, whether rich or poor, famous or anonymous, have our one thing. One thing that matters more to us than anything else. One thing we put first. One thing we pour our time, money and energy into.
What are you known for? What is your one thing? Your singular focus? What do you put first? What will they say about you at your funeral?
For me, what I’m known for and what I want to be known for are sometimes light years apart.
I’m pretty good at a lot of things. I never got to where I wanted to be in my music career, but touring 45 states and having a song on 275 FM stations ain’t too shabby. I’m pretty decent at photography, social media, writing, and bartending, and I’m awesome at folding socks, even though I choose never to do it.
Do these things matter in the end, though? Do I want my tombstone to boast about how many followers I have on Instagram? How many major label bands I opened for? How many dollars I sold per hour at various restaurants?
Look at Mother Teresa.
By her own admission, she wasn’t much to look at. She struggled with her faith. She couldn’t sing, dance, or tweet.
What did she do better than anything else? What was she world famous for? What was her one thing?
Her ability to love. To give. To serve. That’s it.
Remember that Finger Eleven song from a few years ago? “If I traded it all, if I gave it all away for one thing…wouldn’t that be something?”
Think you don’t have many gifts? Think you have nothing to offer? Think you’re destined to slave away in anonymity, unnoticed for what talents you do have? Think your tombstone will be blank?
All of us have been give the ability to love. To give to serve. And when we do, it’s going to change the world.
All of us, any of us could be the next Mother Teresa. Right now. Right where we are.
I desperately want love to be my one thing. Sometimes, I do all right at this. Sometimes, I fail miserably.
The apostle Paul was a pretty well-rounded guy. He was a former Jewish ruler, the leader of a rapidly growing church, a prolific author, a linguist, a theologian, a dual citizen, a world traveler, a gifted orator. He even made tents on the side. But even a renaissance man such as himself recognized that if he didn’t have love, he was nothing. Nothing.
If your one thing is a talent that brings you personal gain, fame, and riches, you win.
If your one thing is love, everyone wins.
Your heart will end up where what you treasure is. What good is it if you gain the whole world, but forfeit your soul?
Make love your one thing. When all is said and done, it’s the one thing that matters.