In 1765 a Frenchman named Gribeauval came up with the idea that if the muskets used in battle had interchangeable parts, the cost of making and repairing guns would drop. Thomas Jefferson met this French general in Paris and brought the idea back to the colonies. For a century everyone from gunmakers to sewing machine manufacturers sought to find a way to shift from custom made to interchangeable design.
Along came Henry Ford. He found a way to make automobiles on an assembly line. At that point, to quote Seth Godin, “capitalism had found its holy grail.” And our world has been changed.
Godin continues (from his book Linchpin): “The essence of mass production is that every part is interchangeable. Time, space, men, motion, money, and material—each was made efficient because every piece was predictable and efficient.” Before long we moved from interchangeable parts to interchangeable people.
But you were not designed to be a cog in a system, an interchangeable part. You were designed by God like nothing else in creation, to worship Him and to bring Him glory. Unfortunately even in ministry today we see the impact of the rise of assembly line thinking. Don’t like your student pastor? Just hire another. Or, don’t like the church you serve? Send out a resume.
What happened to passionately pursuing Christ to the point that we seek not to be one more pastor, or worship guy, or student pastor, or for that matter Sunday school teacher or deacon, but instead sought to become the person created in the image of God to live relentlessly and uniquely for Christ? Why do we spend our lives trying to fit into a system instead of pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ?
God did not create you to be a cog in a system. He created you to be remarkable. Or, as Dave Harvey says it in his wonderful book Rescuing Ambition, we are glory chasers. We have not been put on this earth to fit in, stay out of the way, and just make it; we have been created to be ambassadors of the Most High God to the ends of the earth, each of us uniquely fashioned as a one-of-a-kind person who lives as part of a greater plan. Here is how Paul Tripp puts it (from Rescuing Ambition):
“Admit it. You’re a glory junkie. That’s why you like the 360-degree, between-the-legs slam dunk, or that amazing hand-beaded formal gown, …It’s why you’re attracted to the hugeness of a mountain range or the multihued splendor of the sunset. You were hardwired by your Creator for a glory orientation. It is inescapable. It is in your genes.”
This is why we want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, why we want a happy ending to life, why we crave more. Stop believing the Americanized notion that you are just one of a million other people, interchangeable, a non-spectacular collection of atoms.
God made you like no one or nothing else in creation. But He made you not to seek glory in yourself or for yourself. No, He made you for so much more. Today, do not get caught up in the minutia of the immediate. Think. Look. Dream. Focus on the glory of God and His fantastic, one-of-a-kind good news in Christ.
And then live. But not for yourself. Live for Jesus. And be remarkable. You are an artist with the ability to take all God has given you and give to Him, and to watch Him take that and use you for his glory.
I know. I was a skinny little insecure boy in Alabama. Just one more middle school kid, like so many more. But God planted in my soul a yearning for more. To be an artist. To leave a mark for the glory of God. He has more for you than you presently see. Step out. Step up. Dream big.
Be remarkable today in someone’s life.