“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” -P.T. Barnum
P. T Barnum is right. It is those people who are willing to risk everything to be the person they believe they are created to be that truly make the difference in our worlds. Their story becomes the story that inspires us. When we hear someone’s story that involves encountering hardship, overcoming crisis or facing their own demons we are left inspired. We are forced to face the challenge to do this in our own lives or settle for the common place; mediocre existences where we conform to expectation and status quo. We end up living in the realm of the sub-par, but at least this way there is little resistance, little difficulty and no hardship…
I believe the challenge for Richmond Christian College and its community is the same as the challenge that lies within The World’s Greatest Showman. Are we going to be an educational institution like every other in this town, this state and this world? Will we continue to manufacture kids who are ready to consume and behave as the world wants them to so that they may ‘succeed’, or, are we going to be as God intends for us to be? Can we be the light on a hill; a point of difference in our community that seeks to raise children, in conjunction with their families, to be individuals who uniquely contribute to the world around them based on who God designed them to be? Are we committed to raising unique individuals no matter the cost, or people who will simply dissolve into our consumerist driven world?
So many challenges.
George Orwell’s dystopian sci-fi novel, 1984, suggests that “hope lies in the proles.” The Proles represent common man – and the suggestion is that when common man is uniquely himself and does not submit thoughtlessly to the god of the day (from technology, to materialism to consumerism to self), freedom can be had for all. Freedom from the tyranny and slavey of the sameness and mindless acquiescence to the powers that be. Orwell’s conclusion is the same as P.T Barnum’s – the world is a better place when people are themselves.
Our Good Book says something similar. Psalm 139 encourages us to understand that we were each fearfully and wonderfully made by God. 1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that for a body of people to function well together each part of the body must perform its own unique role in order for the whole body to work well. I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt that God created us specifically to be ourselves, to perform a role that is valuable and unique. When I take the time to stop and think on this I am struck by the wonder of the Creator and the purpose and hope that lies with Him and in us. A fact all too often lost in our world.
It takes the modern-day stories like The World’s Greatest Showman to remind us of a truth that existed a long time ago and no matter how I write it, it remains true – no one ever made a difference by being like everyone else. I guess you could also say, I am fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose – so I must live it fearlessly! Good Tidings