Elton John joins the elite EGOT club: Why “that’s no sign of greatness”

Elton John joins the elite EGOT club: Why “that’s no sign of greatness” January 17, 2024

What do Elton John, Jonathan Tunick, Mike Nichols, Scott Rudin, Robert Lopez, and Alan Menken have in common? They’re all EGOTs—winners of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award.

Elton John joined their club Monday night when he received an Emmy for his Disney+ live performance from Dodger Stadium. Some of its members are icons: Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Jennifer Hudson, and Viola Davis. Others among the nineteen EGOTs are much less known to the public, however.

As a result, a Telegraph headline announced that the singer “has joined the elite club of EGOTs—but that’s no sign of greatness.”

“Preparing for Disease X”

Here’s another story that could warrant a similar headline: world leaders gathering in Davos this week for the World Economic Forum will discuss the potential for a future pandemic that could cause twenty times more casualties than COVID-19. The session, titled “Preparing for Disease X,” will focus on efforts needed to “prepare healthcare systems for the multiple challenges ahead.”

Davos attendees this year include French President Emmanuel Macron, China’s second-in-command Li Qiang, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, along with other global leaders and some of the world’s wealthiest people.

But none of them knows if—or when—Disease X will strike and how many it will kill. When it comes to forecasting the future, “greatness” is available to no one.

How to defeat the devil

This week, we’ve been exploring reasons God allows our world to be so chaotic. Today we’ll add another fact:

Admitting we cannot predict the challenges we face is the best way to prepare for them.

Why is this?

James, the half-brother of Jesus, asked: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1).

I think we would all agree. What is the answer?

[God] gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (vv. 6–8, my emphases).

Note the three imperatives in our text. In the original Greek they mean:

  • Submit: voluntarily subordinate ourselves to our superior.
  • Resist: stand up against our enemy.
  • Draw near: continually strive to be close to God.

Now note their order: when we submit to God, we are then empowered to defeat our Enemy so that we can experience transformational intimacy with Jesus.

The next time you face temptations or challenges, take these steps in this order. Don’t try to defeat your Enemy before you first submit to your Lord. Then resist temptation as a means to experiencing intimacy with Christ. Only when you draw close to Jesus are you safe from the snares of the Evil One.

“Have you had your ‘white funeral’”?

This is one reason God allows our world to be so chaotic and unpredictable: so we will learn to depend on his Spirit to prepare, lead, and empower us. He knows that the “will to power” is within us all, that we struggle constantly against the temptation to “be like God” (Genesis 3:5) as the king of our own kingdom.

As a result, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Such a death to self is the indispensable first step into the abundant life of Christ. Our hands must be empty before he can fill them with his best for us.

In describing a daughter’s decision to leave her mother for her spouse, Tennyson wrote of “that white funeral of the single life.” This is to choose the death of what was so we can step into the life of what is.

Oswald Chambers used this image in spiritual context: “No one enters into the experience of entire sanctification without going through a ‘white funeral’—the burial of the old life.” Then he asked:

Do you agree with God that you stop being the striving, earnest kind of Christian you have been? We skirt the cemetery and all the time refuse to go to death. It is not striving to go to death, it is dying—”baptized into his death.”

He added: “Have you had your ‘white funeral,’ or are you sacredly playing the fool with your soul?”

If not, why not today?

“Christ Jesus, bend me to thy will”

The poet Donogh Mór O’Daly died in 1244 and was buried in the abbey at Boyle, Ireland. The Gaelic scholar Eleanor H. Hull translated this poem from his inspired pen, giving us a prayer I encourage you to offer to your Father today:

How great the tale, that there should be,
In God’s Son’s heart, a place for me!
That on a sinner’s lips like mine
The cross of Jesus Christ should shine!

Christ Jesus, bend me to thy will,
My feet to urge, my griefs to still;
That e’en my flesh and blood may be
A temple sanctified to thee. 

No rest, no calm my soul may win,
Because my body craves to sin;
Till thou, dear Lord, thyself impart
Peace on my head, light in my heart. 

May consecration come from far,
Soft shining like the evening star;
My toilsome path make plain to me,
Until I come to rest in thee.

Can Jesus “bend” you to his will today?

Wednesday news you need to know

Quote for the day

“Jesus is not our life coach. He is our Lord.” —Michael Koulianos

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