We all have (or at least I have) books, movies and songs that seldom come to mind, but when they do we think to ourselves, "OH YEAH! I love that one!!!" Over the past couple of months I have had that moment with three different movies. The first was Being There, the 1979 classic starring Peter Sellers. It's the story of a simpleton gardener who finds himself alone in the world after his millionaire boss dies and the estate where they both lived is sold. Through a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, this plain man who speaks only in gardening terms and with lines he learned from TV shows becomes a consultant to the wealthy and powerful who find him to be incredibly wise. Even his name gets transformed- he tells people he is Chance, the gardener and before he knows it he is Chauncey Gardner. He does absolutely nothing to try be someone he is not or change who he is, but people see the best in him. They crave his simple words of wisdom. They want him to run for President. In the end he is "exposed," and the last we see of him he is walking on water- because he doesn't know he can't. Chance never does one single thing to better himself or to impress people. It just happens.
The final film that I thought of was Cool Runnings. It was the Olympics that brought this film to mind and reminded me how much I love it. So much, in fact, that I was tempted to watch it on VHS- the only version in which we own it! As great as the story of the bobsled team is, equally intriguing to me is the story of their coach, played by the late John Candy. He had once cheated to try and win a gold medal and was caught. Now, as his team seeks to do something no Jamaican had ever done before, he has to remind them that winning does not make or break who you are in life. His famous line- "A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you're not enough without the medal, you'll never be enough with it" - speaks to me very clearly about some of my own goals. We all know people who spend their lives chasing a goal, only to achieve their dream and discover they had missed too many of life's great joys in order to get there. The question becomes this- which is more important to us, the journey or the destination?
Each of these great films, while very different in tone and content, speak to that question for me. I believe in praying big prayers and dreaming big dreams. I believe in having goals. But I also believe that those goals should be part of finding God's will for our lives. These movies remind us that if we base our lives around looking, feeling and being important, then we are likely to be disappointed. On the other hand, if we be who we are- who God created us to be- and follow Jesus on the wild ride of discipleship- life can be full of unexpected joy. Life is not about power, prestige, money or possessions. It's not about awards, medals or grand successes. God created to us to live with joy if we live in love. Jesus came so that we might live an abundant (full) life, which is not the same as a life of abundance. I want to be like Chance the Gardener, being myself no matter what that might bring me. I want to be like Eric Liddell, living life for the glory of God instead of chasing after some dream or goal that I think will complete me. And most importantly I want to understand that there is really nothing more I need in life to feel like I'm enough. I am not defined by what I do, what I have or what I accomplish. As the late Rich Mullins wrote, "I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am. I did not make it, no it is making me- it is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man." I believe God created me. Jesus forgives me. My friends and family love me. No matter what else happens in my life, I'm already enough.
Because of Jesus,