“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” (Ps 103:15)
In the movie Braveheart, William Wallace, a Scottish knight from the 14th century played by Mel Gibson, rides his horse along a sea of Scottish patriots seeking independence. He cries out, fearlessly, “Freedom!” The camera pans to the faces of the terrified, neglected Scotsmen. It zeroes in on two faces; small men who hardly seem like mighty warriors. William Wallace finishes his tirade, and we see this wall of sparsely armed men take off to battle against the more highly trained forces waiting on the other side of the hill. That is the last we see of our two small warriors. We do not know whether they lived or died. They were not William Wallace. Their fame lasted less than five seconds on the big screen.
We are those two small warriors. In fact, our role is even smaller than those two actors. Our lives are but a breath, here today and gone tomorrow. Our lives, played out against the landscape of thousands of years and billions of people, are but a grain of sand on the widest beach imaginable.
How then should we live? We live as small players in the Greatest Story, loved passionately by the Grand Hero of the Story. The deception is to imagine ourselves as William Wallace, riding high, heroic, irreplaceable. The equal deception is to believe that because we are not William Wallace, we do not matter. Our role may be small, but our part is glorious to Him. In this is the paradox of insignificance. In the great scheme of history, we are insignificant. In the even greater scheme of eternity, we are inestimable valuable. We may be small, but we are His army, His beloved, joined by legions of angels and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The camera pans to us and stops, waiting to see if we will join the battle. God is the respecter, defender, and lover of the insignificant.
I love those two small actors in Braveheart. They did not cynically turn their back on Wallace, saying, “Freedom. Easy for you to say on that grand horse. We know the truth. You get the girl.” They did not say, “Come back to us when you have legitimate weapons for us.” Small, seemingly insignificant, they plunged into the fierce battle for life with no guarantees.
We are each called to enter the battle. We are meant to live for something greater than our own comfort and happiness. Though our role may be small, God has a special place in His heart for the insignificant. Amid His very last days, Jesus stopped and praised the paltry gift of an old widow. In a world that applauds the significant, visible, beautiful, impressive people around us, Jesus proclaims that the last shall be first. This both frees us up to be who we are and inspires us to be more than we are. We don’t have to be grand, we just have to be His.
There is freedom in being small when I know that I am precious in His sight and destined for eternity. When I serve Him, I don’t have to worry about impacting thousands. I live for the Audience of One and leave the results to Him.