I often drive by the Boeing plant in Everett, WA. They say it is the largest building on the planet, by volume. Inside this giant cavern thousands of little people scramble about; from my vantage point they look like little ants. They are putting together one million pieces to construct a commercial airliner, one that will take about eight to ten thousand workers about half a million man hours to complete. They are a part of building something great, but individually they are not great. To put it bluntly, there is not a mechanic there cannot be replaced. In fact if you were to sneak into the Boeing plant and kidnap a few mechanics, nothing would be affected. The planes would continue being made. If you get a job at this company and manufacture commercial jets, and then you quit, your passing will not affect the outcome. You are not at the heart of this story, for this is the story of Boeing as a company, not you.
God’s Story vs. My Story
There are two ways most people live their life, either they try to write a great story all about them, or they join a story greater than them. In the example above, people join the story of Boeing, working together for the initiative of this company, and produce the most complex item manufactured in history. What if an acquaintance told you that he had great dreams and he was going to build commercial jets all by himself. You would likely mock him because you would see the pathetic nature of his story compared to the greater story of Boeing. So the question is what story are you living? Is it the story where you are in the middle and all things revolve around you? Or is it a story where you are a part of something much greater than yourself?
Who is the Hero of your Story?
Since the beginning humanity has been fascinated by heroes, for example see the popularity of films like The Dark Knight. Every story has a prominent hero, and while reading and watching, most of us find ways to identify with the hero. (And some of us even walk around daydreaming we are). We love heroes because they are central pivot in a great story. All things depend on the hero. If the hero is not there, all is lost, if the hero is present, great things happen. Everyone pays attention to the hero.
There are only two types of (mutually exclusive) relationships humans have with heroes:
1. We are the Hero.
2. We love the Hero.
In the story of God, Jesus is hands-down the Hero. There is none like him. He is immortal, invincible, defeated the ultimate villain, is restoring all that was destroyed, saves the prisoners. If there is a book written about such a hero, any other characters in that book would quickly fade to the background when the Hero comes into view. Thus anyone who wants to be a part of the great story of Jesus must give up his pride and enjoy singing in the background while Jesus does the solo.
The only other option is to be the hero yourself (which is also the same as not loving Jesus the Hero, for how can you love Him if you replace him?). Yet there is no universe in which Jesus lives where you can be the hero compared to him, so your only option is to form your own story, one without Jesus, and in that one, you can do what your heart desires, you can be the hero, you can be the center of attention.
So which story do you live in? And who is the Hero in it, you? Or Jesus? In real life there can only be one Hero per story (sorry Avengers).
The Hero test?
How do you know whether or not Jesus is the hero in your life? By seeing how much do you value yourself. By discovering how important you think your ideas, actions, and presence is to other people and to God himself. When I was involved in youth ministry, I remember talking to other fellow YP’s, all of whom mimicked my own desire to be the one who can change the church, create an amazing ministry, produce hundreds of conversions, and lead a giant revival. And in fact, this was impressed upon us when we were still young children, we were told that “we are the generation that will change the world” and things of that nature. Yet all of it taught us that we were special, that we were the heroes, not that we were the broken sinners who needed saving ourselves. Are you in the same boat? Ask yourself, are you the hero in your story? There can only be one hero in your story.
Do you often rely on your history of good works to prove to yourself, other people, and God that you are a good person? Are you quick to point out how much better you are than (insert random sinner)? Do you tally all of your moral accomplishments, church attendance, charity history and etc? Do you think others need follow your example and be as “holy” as you?
Do you feel that your ministry is the most important, and that maybe, just maybe, God’s big mission depends on you? Do you feel that the church needs you and will not survive without your gifts or leadership? Do you regularly push aside “not important” people as you focus all of your time with only those who can advance your ministry?
Do you find yourself to be overqualified, highly gifted, or in a different class than many simple people? Do you regularly find yourself realizing how much you can do that others cannot. Do you often think that you don’t need anyone to succeed and are self-sufficient in all areas of life.