“Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.” (Ephesians 2:10 CEB)
In this culture of competition we Americans receive messages from all sides that we must be the best, the smartest, or the most good-looking to earn our place on sports teams, college campuses, job sites, and media platforms.
The bar is always set high and we must strive to achieve excellence.
“Work hard.” “Always do your best.” “Go for the gold.” I personally endorse these messages and have passed them on my kids. My second child is now prepping for college admission and competing for scholarships. I want her to contest for these awards.
But we all need something else – something more – to truly live successfully; we need a foundation within our very souls of our great value in the Creator’s eyes.
If we build that truth solidly, then we operate out of a sense of being cherished and indispensable to the world, no matter the outcomes of our cultural competitions.
We can even give that appreciation to one another.
“Love is to reveal the beauty of another person to themselves.” Jean Vanier
If we don’t lay down these truths in our inner man, our cultural competition will demoralize and, eventually, crush our spirits. Our Heavenly Father looks at our value and purpose and never relegates anyone to “the bench” to just watch the first string players make history.
Paul the apostle, the great orator, church planter, and author of much of the New Testament, in all his letters to the churches, gives us a glimpse into the existence of many others who also worked to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the longest lists he made acknowledges 27 people by name and mentions numerous others described as “sister”, “brothers” or “church members”. (see Romans 16: 1-16)
These are not “little people” with “little lives” because they are only mentioned once in the Bible. Their stories may not have been told in that format, but they had rich lives. I would love to hear more about Urbanus, Rufus, Trphena, Pryphosa, Persis, Phlegon, Apelles, Ampliatus, Julia, and Olympas.
We Westerners, in this current day and age, may not receive media coverage of our sports prowess, best-selling publication of what we have written, or other acknowledgements from public platforms, but we each matter to God…
…and to many, many others.