It was freshman orientation.
I remember how small I felt sitting in the fold-down seat of a university auditorium. I had my bangs teased high. And there was this long smear on the thigh of my Gitano jeans, where the mustard had squirted out the back side of my chili dog. I had tried to wipe it clean at the bathroom sink beforehand, but it made matters worse. So I held a Mead, college-ruled notebook over the stain.
I was a small-town girl, back row, listening to the woman up front. And I still remember how her long blond hair cascaded just past her shoulders. She was supposed to inspire us to greatness, and that is exactly what she did. She had us on the edges of our seats when she asked us this question: “What do you want to be famous for?”
We had just been given permission to be significant. Starry eyes twinkled. Dreams soared. Future spotlights shined on our barely-adult souls.
And everything about everything told me that she was right. Big was the new black. Small was so … small-town. I was as certain as I’d ever been that we were made for fame, and it would take years to know what my soul already know:
We were never made for fame.
We weren’t made for spotlights, or stages, or impressive lists of who’s-who. Someday, some of you might end up there on some list, somewhere. Maybe you’re already there — at the top of your game. And sure, you can use that platform to honor and glorify our Father. I pray you do.
But dear Lord, keep us humble if any of us land under the glare of a spotlight. Don’t let us play like actors, under the guise of “making Jesus famous.” Because really, does a Nazarene who raises people from the dead really need our help?
In 2012, Emily Freeman said it like this: “Our souls were not made for fame. Our souls were made for the Famous One. O God, save us from ourselves.”
More than a half century ago, A.W. Tozer said it like this: “Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice.”
And back when Jesus walked the earth, the Baptizer deflected the allure of Big, when He said it like this:
“I am not the Christ.”
He know that the best place of all? Was small. Somewhere behind Christ.
If anybody is going to be big, let it be Christ.
And if anybody is going to be small, let it be me. Let it be us.
“He must become greater,
I must become less.”
~ John 3:30
Linking with Lisa-Jo Baker, with her writing prompt this week on this word: SMALL.
Happy weekend friends. May you find the joy of your smallness, accompanied by Christ’s glorious greatness.