Tag Archives: PT Barnum

Just Like The Greatest Showman

All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough
Never be enough
For me”

If you’ve seen the movie, “The Greatest Showman” these words from the song “Never Enough” will be familiar.  If you haven’t seen the movie, go! I loved learning about the history of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. The music was fantastic (been listening ever since on repeat) and the acting great. But it was PT Barnum’s self-discovery after chasing his dreams that stood out to me.

***Spoiler Alert***

Having grown up with very little, Phineas Taylor Barnum aspired to provide his family with the same lavish lifestyle of his wife’s upbringing. He didn’t want his daughters to lack anything in the way he had as a child. However as his dreams turned into reality, and his business began to enchant the masses, it only whetted his appetite.

When his circus performed for the Queen of England, he met famous Swedish singer Jenny Lind and signed her to tour with him. For Barnum the sky was the limit; the world at his fingertips. For his wife and girls, his presence and love all they wanted.

Though I’m uncertain if the movie’s portrayal of what happened next is factual, the scandalous onstage kiss Jenny gave Barnum as retribution for rejecting her advances is what led him to finally see his false gods. Money and fame ruled him. Despite all he was acquiring it was never enough. There was always more to be had. But never without great expense.

And aren’t we often just like him?

We look at others’ online feeds, stories and boards and determine what we have is not enough. We compare ourselves to those around us, and feel less than (or better than) based on what we have or don’t have. Just like Barnum we go chasing after what we think we need. What we think will bring everlasting happiness. What is it for you- Money? Fame? Appearance? Popularity? Comfort?

In our culture today it all seems attainable. With YouTube and Instagram, even fame is no longer limited to actors, singers and politicians. “Regular” people can become instant sensations, acquiring the following of masses, gaining contracts for product endorsement and earning thousands each month. Teenagers and adults alike, clamouring for “streaks” and “likes” and even buying “followers.” As if these numbers make us worthy.

Again like Barnum, we’ve lost focus of what truly matters. We’ve bought into the lie that “life” is found in something other than God. No matter how much success, accomplishments, recognition, extravagant trips, designer goods, bonuses, attention or followers, it’s never enough.

I drank champagne with kings and queens
The politicians praised my name
But those are someone else’s dreams
The pitfalls of the man I became
For years and years
I chased their cheers
The crazy speed of always needing more…(From Now On)”

None of it will ever be enough because these things weren’t meant to satisfy. They can’t. They aren’t big enough or valuable enough to give us worth, and they lack the power to give us lasting love and happiness.

The only thing that can bring us true joy and peace cannot be acquired. The hole in our soul can only be filled in Christ.

And from now on
These eyes will not be blinded by the light
From now on
What’s waited till tomorrow starts tonight
It starts tonight
And let the promise in me start
Like an anthem in my heart
From now on…
And we will come back home…”

May we see the temptations and traps for what they are. And find true life in the One who beckons us to come and graces us with treasures that will never rot.

“Come home! come home!
Ye who are weary, come home!
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home! (Softly and Tenderly)