Simply Be Yourself
“But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.”
Simply be yourself: easier said than done! Especially in today’s world where movie stars go back to size zero four months after having a baby and “more is better” or ‘go for the gusto” and ‘keeping up with the Jones” and the constant bombardment of commercialization that never ends. We have to have figures like Barbie and Ken, facelifts and Viagra, dye our hair, use Rogaine, live in mansions, be at the corporate top… It never ends!
Apparently, the leaders and teachers in Jesus’ day were having similar problems. Jesus, in Mathew 23, hits them hard for being all talk and no action backing up their walk – for seeking “Hollywood status”, top positions, honor and power, keeping double standards, obeying whatever is convenient, yet demanding that the masses follow every little addition to law that they invented.
But in the midst of all these admonitions, Jesus says, “But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.”
Do we believe that? Do we believe that if we ‘just be ourselves’ striving to follow His ways, using the gifts He has given us” that our lives “will count for plenty”? We are so programmed to compare ourselves to others. It has been going on since the beginning: Satan enticed Eve by saying she could be ‘more’, she could be like God; Cain wanted to be ‘favored’ by God like Able; royal family members killing family members to rule kingdoms throughout the Old Testament; the mother of Zebedee’s sons, who wanted them to sit next to Jesus in His Kingdom; and even Peter, who asked Jesus about John because of the rumor that John would not die! We are so worried about what everyone else has or what they have achieved.
Yet, again, that still, small voice says, “be content” -do what I ask you to do, and it is plenty. I am reminded of the title of one of Barbara Johnson’s books, “Bloom Where you Are Planted” and of Azlan’s rebuke to Shasta when he questioned him, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.” (“The Horse and his Boy”, C.S. Lewis) Each one of us causes ripples in the pond and only the Lord knows the outcome. In other words, we each have our own story to live and complete, a part of history, i.e. His Story, and every one of our life stories is as important as those of our family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors and strangers. Remember Sam asking Frodo, “I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?” (J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Two Towers”) Live your life story and no one else’s!
Make no mistake; I want my life to ‘count for plenty’. But I want the ‘plenty’ to be what is of worth in the Kingdom to come – not what the world offers as plenty – that all can be gone in a flash. So today, again, I will fix my eyes on Jesus, and seek what is His will for me, just me, and I will strive to do that.
On the Journey …. Valerie
“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.” Matthew 23:11-12 MSG