This past Sunday history occurred: Leonardo DiCaprio—Titanic heart throb of the late ‘90’s and critically acclaimed actor—won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Leo had previously been nominated four other times, but had yet to win. With The Revenant, he was practically begging the Academy to give him the Oscar. I mean, all the interviews he and his co-stars gave were about how hard it was for him to film the movie. The movie was filmed on location, in winter, and it was really cold, you know?
Judging by all the Twitter chatter and headlines I saw on Yahoo! Monday morning, it seems people were pretty ecstatic that Leo finally won. In fact, his Oscar win surpassed Ellen Degeneres’s selfie with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper (and a bunch of other celebrities I don’t remember) as the most tweeted Oscar moment in history. His win was that big of a deal (I guess).
For me, Leo finally winning his Oscar was not the story. No, for me, the big story was Leo’s acceptance speech. He dedicated almost two minutes to lecturing viewers about the dangers of climate change.
Leonardo DiCaprio is a man who can do anything he wants. He has more money than a man could ever need. His dating life is probably the envy of millions of men. He has accomplished more in his career than most actors could dare to dream. And now he has accomplished the ultimate goal of a Hollywood actor: winning an Academy Award. Yet, even with all of his success and accomplishment, he still needs more in life. He needs a purpose for which to fight and believe in. Like climate change.
Leo is not unlike King Solomon, the famous Biblical figure, son of King David, who built the first temple in Jerusalem. Solomon wrote three books in the Bible: Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. The latter book came to my mind when I read about Leo’s Oscar acceptance speech. Like Leo, Solomon had nothing withheld from him—not success, not wealth, not love, not fame. He had it all. Yet, at the end of his life, he realized that was not enough; he had not satisfied his purpose.
Solomon ends the books of Ecclesiastes with these words: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Solomon’s words remind me of what Jesus said in John 15:10-11: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love . . . These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Think about that. At the end of his days, Solomon realized that having everything under the sun was nothing if he did not have God—if he did not honor God. As a Christian, I believe this is true for every human being. If a man or woman’s purpose is not to glorify God, then they will live an unsatisfied life. A life without purpose—the purpose for which they were created.
Now, I don’t know what is in Leo’s heart; I don’t know what he thinks about all of his achievements. But it is clear that his success in life is not enough. He needs more. Hence his message that we need to do something about climate change. He needs something beyond this life for which to live.
As for me, I echo Philippians 1:21, a verse I liked so much I made it my high school yearbook quote: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” It is my prayer that this verse be the reality in my life and the life of everyone . . . including Leo’s.