Lately I’ve been thinking about our importance as human beings. I believe that the current American culture, as a whole, places a strong value on importance, or in the extreme, fame. With all of the reality TV shows, competition shows, and YouTube channels focused solely on ‘important’ people, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many people want to be considered important to the world around them, to want some sort of fame.
This is also apparent in the world of Social Media, where Likes, Followers, and Views communicate how important you are to the rest of the world. This desire for importance has even found it’s way into the world of video games, with services like Twitch and YouTube Gaming.
So what am I trying to say?
I think that our desire to be important is misplaced.
Let me try and clarify what I mean by my previous statement. We are all unique creatures, created by God to bear his image. This uniqueness, however, does not make us important. (And even if it did, it would be self-defeating importance because if everyone is important then no one is.) If you read through the Bible and see the people that God chooses to work through you will find, with freakish consistency, that he chooses unimportant people.
Noah, Abraham, David, Peter, even Jesus.
God works through these unimportant people for a reason, so that when we read their stories and see the outcomes it becomes abundantly clear that the only way this could have happened was if God made it so. This is vital to understanding why our importance doesn’t matter: glory belongs to God alone. Seeking out importance is a version of seeking out glory, which means it can be an act of pride, which is no good.
“But Jesus died for me, that means I must be important.”
No, it doesn’t. It means that God loves us and wants to be in relationship with us, it does not mean that we are so important that God had to save us. He did it because he is merciful and benevolent, not out of duty or awe towards us. God’s glory is in himself, not in us.
This is a tough pill to swallow because it is directly opposed to what our culture would have us believe. Happiness is not found in the praise of others, it is not found in more Twitter followers, nor is it found in fame. Happiness is found solely in God.
This area of thought has really messed with me recently, as I have a website, and podcasts, and Twitter accounts. I track downloads and subscribers. I’m even going to share this post on Social Media. So what do I do?
I think there is a difference between sharing your thoughts with the public and seeking importance. I don’t think Social Media is wrong, or recording podcasts is wrong, I think they can be wonderful outlets for our thoughts and creativity. What I do think is wrong is using those things to seek out fame.
Let me put it this way: If my intent in these blog posts and my podcasts is to glorify myself, I’m doing no one any favors, and I’m acting completely selfishly and am in sin.
If, however, my desire in doing these things is to glorify God by using the skills he has given me then I’m doing it correctly. Like most things in life, God cares more about our motivations and inner thoughts, than he does about outcomes. Success to God is about the heart, not about audience size.
If we want to focus on what is important we should focus on glorifying God, not ourselves.