As I’ve studied Rhett and Link’s spiritual deconstruction, one particular point of irony has become apparent: Cru placed Rhett and Link on the path to fame and success.
It was during Rhett and Link’s involvement with Cru that they discovered their gifts for comedy and entertainment. Rhett acknowledges this, saying that because he and Link were late bloomers, they “needed a cocoon to develop in” and Cru provided that cocoon (Our Years as Missionaries, YouTube, 22:22).
Emceeing the Christmas conference gave them a safe platform and place to express their talent. It was the support-raising process that funded their creative endeavors during their time on staff. And it was members of the Cru leadership who indulged and encouraged their creativity.
Let me be clear: I am not blaming Cru for this. This is the kind of thing Cru should do–to identify and encourage the development of God-given abilities.
Something similar actually happened to me. When it became apparent that I wasn’t going to join staff after my internship, my campus director asked me what I wanted to do afterward. I didn’t know, but I knew that I wanted to write. He wisely instructed me to allocate one day of each week to write. During that time, I started writing my first book, and nearly a decade later I’m still using that gift.
The Bible is explicit that followers of Christ are endowed by God with talents that we are to foster and develop in order to advance the kingdom of God (Matthew 25:14-30). Consider the words of Peter:
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).
Likewise, Paul repeats the same theme in Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
With Rhett and Link, though, at some point that gift stopped centering around the kingdom of God and started orienting around a personal following.
This is especially easy for artists and performers to do; the temptation to cater to a crowd rather than our Creator is ubiquitous.
Don’t misunderstand. I am not saying that all artistic ventures should be analogous to Christianity, that all books should be allegorical, or that all stories—that of Esther for instance—cannot glorify God without directly mentioning him. I have written many stories and essays that aren’t inherently spiritual and I will continue to do so.
Still our overarching life goal as Christians should be to advance the kingdom of God.
The central thesis of our life has to be to know God and make him known, to share the story of sin and separation and redemption—the story of a God who cannot suffer sin but loves his creation so much that he would sacrifice himself. That narrative, that kingdom, is eternal. Everything else is paltry in comparison.
The temptation to build our own kingdoms can quickly erode our desire to build God’s kingdom, but we must remember which kingdom is built to last.
So are you being faithful to build the kingdom of God or are you building castles in the sand?
The temptation to cater to a crowd rather than our Creator is ubiquitous.