The internet has the power to connect people in ways no one could have anticipated. Now I can keep track of where my old acquaintances go on their holidays, see pictures of lovely dinners eaten by people I haven’t spoken to in years, and find out what my childhood playmates think about government policies. Amazing, isn’t it? Through their pictures and posts, I get a glimpse into their lives—their homes, families, travels, and their stunning accomplishments and successes.
I’m glad for them, really. But sometimes I also wonder—how does my own life measure up to theirs? Is my life still important if it doesn’t include the same kinds of successes that I see other people achieving and enjoying? If they reach higher and go further than I do, am I just one more loser bringing up the rear in some kind of cosmic reality show competition?
No. Real life was never intended to be a race to power, influence, or wealth, as if the prize of significance is only won by the most talented achiever and everyone else is just a runner up (which is a nice way to say loser). Real life is not a reality show. It’s a gift.
I didn’t earn it. I didn’t do anything to deserve it. And yet here I am, together with you, on planet earth. I was specially made and placed at this exact time and place on purpose by God himself, and he put me here for a reason. I don’t need to be bigger or better than you for my life to have significance. I don’t need to prove myself to anyone or find a way to create my own meaning by collecting the right kinds of papers and titles and such. I already have a place in God’s plan, and my job here is not to make myself as big and memorable as possible. I’m here to be what God made me to be, and do what he made me to do. If it turns out that God’s plan for you includes more notable success and recognition than I have, who am I to complain? I have the gift of life, and my own part to play in the world. Instead of comparing myself against the lives of others, I can focus on the life God gave me. Instead of competing with others, I can celebrate their successes along with my own. As Jesus said to Peter when he asked about God’s plan for John, “If I want him to remain until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.”
If God has a more prominent role for you than he does for me, what is that to me? I’m not here to compete with you. I’m here to follow Jesus.