This week I met a ten-year old girl who expressed her goal in life in no uncertain terms: “I want to be a star.”
I was pretty sure she didn’t mean that she wanted to become a celestial body shining through the night. No, she wanted people to notice her.
As these ideas circulated through my thoughts, she turned to me, and as if reading my mind, she added: “And if not I would like to become a veterinarian.”
Reflecting on this, I realized that when I was her age I also dreamed big. I don’t really remember all of my dreams, but at one time I wanted to be a famous composer, at another time I wished I could become a doctor who could heal all people. Truly we all dreamed big when we were young. Our future seemed so promising! What has happened to us?
The same is true when we became followers of the Christ. We “dreamed big” at that time as well. We would be His witnesses, no matter what the circumstances! What has happened to us?
In all reality, do we know who the “stars” are in God’s eyes?
Most of us believe that our good deeds matter and they do. But what are good deeds when compared to eternity? Take for example William the Conqueror. When he was 22 years old, he fell madly in love with Mathilda, the daughter of the Count of Flanders. Or was it only a strong political marriage? Who knows! But for whatever reason, Mathilda’s father certainly liked the prospect of having William as his son-in-law! He even personally brought a large quantity of gifts to the castle of Eu, where William was residing at the time. (Nobility of the age tended to move quite often).
However not everybody was as pleased about this marriage. The church condemned it under the pretext that William and Matilda were probably distant cousins, through their ancestors five generations before they were born. William didn’t want to become estranged from his church. His faith was in his church. So he did the unthinkable. As a gesture of “goodwill and love” to his church, he built 2 abbeys in Caen, France. This was enough to buy the pope’s pardon. Later he would put these cloisters for good use. One of them became his burial place, the other, the burial place of his wife, Matilda. Quite useful, don’t you think?
Worthwhile endeavours? Absolutely. But is this what God expects for us to do? We all have done things we can be quite proud of. This should impress God, right? This should make us “stars”!
The Bible, however, has some very interesting things to say about how much our works impress God, about what truly makes us a “star”:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'” (Matthew 25:34-36, NIV2)
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV2)
I wonder where we have gone wrong. Are we still filled with that hunger to make a difference in this world? Do we even care of the plight of the poor and the rejected ones? Writing a cheque to make us feel better won’t do it. Even giving everything we have won’t make a difference. The apostle Paul realized this when he wrote: “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3, NIV2)
No, being a “star” in God’s eyes isn’t about making ourselves noticed. It isn’t about self-sacrifice. It’s about love. It is about truly responding to the plight of others out of love. It is about being Jesus’ hands and feet on Earth. In all honesty, a better illustration would be to say it is about being a “moon” that cannot produce its own light, but can only reflect the light of the sun! It’s about us being “moons” to reflect Jesus!
You see, what these needy people need the most is not money. Their biggest need is love. True love. They hunger for someone to listen to them. They starve for the attention of those who see their only goal in life is to live like a bee, hurrying from one task to another. They yearn for someone to hug them and tell them all will be all right. Only then will feeding them and giving them water really mean something! It’s all about love!
Where will we be when the King of Kings return?
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17, NIV2)
“I want to be a star!”
Now that we understand that being a “star” in God’s eyes really means that we are a “moon”, may we all have this goal in life! Just imagine what a difference it would make if we could each touch just one person!
Are you a star, trying to generate your own light? Or are you a moon, reflecting the light of God our Father?
(To access the entire “The Question About Love” devotional series, please click here.)