“What if my life isn’t important?”
This question came to me a few weeks ago, and I realised, of course it’s not important! Why would I assume that it was? How did I acquire such absurd and unjustified pride?
We can’t all be a “big deal”. Not even most of us can – there’s not enough space for so many big deals. So, what if in the course of my life, I don’t ever become a big deal? Who cares?
Why in the world would I care about being important? It doesn’t appear that many others do. At least no one else seems to have assumed they would be. It seems I’ve been thinking of myself in terms of how history will view me. But that’s not who I really am at all.
If my life is unimportant, does this mean my life is meaningless? No. But the meaning of life is no more than to live and to live fully. My purpose is not something outside of me.
We don’t have a mission from God – we are a mission from God. My mission is not to do something, but to be who I am and who I’m made to be. Our mission, our meaning, is to let God love us into being what we already are: His children. He asks nothing at all from us except ourselves. As Mother Teresa said “God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.” St Therese understood this too, knowing herself as a worthless but beloved toy in the hands of the child Jesus, while also knowing that she would become a great Saint.
If God wills that we should become a “big deal”, even then it doesn’t really matter. No matter how “important” we may become, this will never be our purpose. To speak tongues and move mountains and work miracles without love is worthless. All of our importance is just grass in the fields, here today and gone tomorrow. Even work done for God, the only work that lasts, is entirely and solely His; our part is merely that of a child, in their father’s workshop, carefully guided and protected and supported at each step. We were allowed to cooperate by His grace, and should rejoice in that, but we are still just children at play.
God bless you!
What each one of us needs to keep in mind is Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians 12: we are all part of one body and are totally interdependent.
God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’
Nor again can any of us abdicate our responsibilities by saying we are not important. If we are the body of Christ today, that imposes responsibilities towards each other in the body but also to the body’s mission. If Christ is who we say he is we are both unimportant and important.
If I teach a boy who is not succeeding at school, neither he nor I are important on one scale; but if our working together leads to his believing he can succeed in passing an exam, going to college, finding and holding down a job, keeping out of prison … that is important for him but also for the many people who will not suffer from his potential criminal activities. It’s not really for us to set our activities against the galaxies light years away, but to deal with the earth-bound problems we encounter.