“But by the grace of God I am what I am . . .” – 1 Corinthians 15:10
During high school I became good buddies with a guy named Keith. Keith was a blast to hang out with, smart, fun, funny, and extremely talented musically, especially on the piano, one of those people who, when he sat down to play his fingers would dance – effortlessly, so it seemed – across the keyboard. Watching him entertain people with his amazing talent made me crave to be just like him, so much so that those piano lessons I had grudgingly endured years before at the insistence of my mother, suddenly became meaningful, inspiring me pick up where I had left off, in hopes of teaching myself to play like him. It was to no avail, of course, for I had neither the natural talent he had, nor had I ever put forth the effort to practice as my mother persistently encouraged.
Keith the piano player is but one example among many I’m afraid, when I’ve coveted being like someone else. I loved basketball and spent many hours shooting hoops in the backyard in hopes of one day being a star on the court like other guys I knew. Regardless of my efforts, though, I was still too small, too slow, and at best a so-so athlete. Then there were the ones smarter than me in school. I coveted being like them too.
Have you ever coveted being like someone else, or worse, wished you actually were someone else? I suppose we all have. And it’s not merely an adolescent syndrome, not for me at least. As an adult I’ve struggled craving to be like those who have climbed higher up the corporate ladder, been more successful in business, made more money, become more influential – I could go on and on.
Then one day I heard someone say, not at all in a boastful way, “I am the best ‘me’ there has ever been.” That’s when it began to soak in, that I’m not supposed to be Keith on the keyboard, or the star on the basketball court, the top student in the class, or the most successful. I’m simply supposed to be me – and the best me I can be.
Longing to be someone we are not puts us in grave danger of believing we have somehow been deprived. When in fact we have not been short-changed, rather we are made in the image of God. And come to think of it, isn’t being in the likeness of God far superior to the likeness of someone else? “But by the grace of God I am what I am . . .”