On Wednesday, I left you with a question. What are we to do with the diversity of gifts and talents that sometimes seem to be doled out in unequal fashion? Are people who have more talent necessarily better or more valuable? The world would tell you the answer is absolutely yes. A Christian worldview is a bit more nuanced.
There’s no doubt that if we are talking about running the 100 m dash, the Olympic athlete is most likely better than any one of us at that race. There’s really no denying that reality. Again, I'm not saying anything against competition; I love competition. What I am against is equating value with victory.
However, if we are talking about better as a measure of value, then the Christian worldview would say no. Having more talent or ability does not make anyone more or less valuable in the eyes of God. I discussed the equality of humanity when I wrote about abortion, but it applies in about the same way here. Consider what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body” (1 Corinthians 12:14-15, ESV).
A hand does not have the same abilities as a foot, but that doesn’t mean that either one is intrinsically more valuable than the other. They are still parts of the body. However, the hand is better at writing and the foot is better at kicking.
Bringing us back to the idea of success then, a hand is a successful hand when it does the things that a hand is supposed to do. A hand is not considered a failure because it is not a foot. A hand is not successful when it does not do what a hand is supposed to do.
This is what we need to remember that when evaluating success from a Christian worldview. As we saw on Wednesday, we do each have our own race to run, and we need to put in the effort to do that to the best of our abilities. Winning is important, but it is not the ultimate purpose of our effort.
When we utilize our talents and abilities in the way that God intended us to use them and keep our focus on Jesus Christ as we make our way to the finish line, we have been successful. Other people might have more talent and ability than we do, but we can appreciate what they have and praise God for it while simultaneously doing our best with our own unique set of abilities.