I went to Thing One’s eighth grade awards program today. Sitting in the middle school gym made me think back (a long way back) to my school days. I was one of “those” kids. The kind who was involved in ev.ery.thing, who won all the awards, who made the honor roll, who was Student of the Year, that sort of thing. I was smart and I knew it and I loved it.
You know how many awards Thing One brought home today? None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. No academic awards, no sports awards, not even 100% dress-out for PE. But Thing One isn’t bothered by his lack of awards. He’s comfortable in his own skin, for the most part, and if you ask him, he’ll tell you the awards don’t matter, because he’s the GOAT – Greatest of All Time! That got me thinking, too.
How much do those awards I won in sixth grade, eighth grade, high school *really* matter now? I’ve probably still got some of them stashed in a folder or scrapbook or box somewhere. It was a lot of fun at the time, winning them. But have they been any indicator of future success? Not really, not as far as achieving ridiculous levels of wealth and/or fame or living the high life with all the toys money can buy. Does anyone care now that I was a National Merit Scholar? I’m not sure I even care at this point.
Worldly accolades are fun, I’ll grant you that. It’s nice to feel like you’re special, like you’re appreciated, like you’re noticed. But that doesn’t last, and that’s not what counts most. Not even our perception of ourselves as worthy is what matters. No, what I want Thing One to remember, even when the world is unkind, is who he is in our Savior, Christ Jesus.
He was created specifically by God, who knows him better than he knows himself. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you….” – Jeremiah 1:5
He is called to righteousness. “I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness….” – Isaiah 42:6
He is a child of God. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” – Romans 8:16
He is created by God to do good things. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
He is loved – loved enough that Jesus went to the cross for him, to save him and give him eternal life. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10
Those are the things that matter. Our identity as a beloved child of God, our salvation based on our faith in Jesus, those are the things we carry with us into eternity. That scrapbook full of decades-old award certificates isn’t going to make the trip when we stand before our Creator.
If you have questions about eternity, about faith, about God, about Christianity, check out https://www.truelife.org/. I’m no expert, but you can ask me, too. If I don’t know an answer, I’ll look for it, and I’ll help you find someone who does know.