I’m a huge fan of Seinfeld. My favorite character is George Costanza. Why? Because I’m neurotic just like him, and misery loves even fictitious company.
If you’re a fellow fan, do you remember the Frogger episode? It’s one of my favorites. If not, no worries. It’s a sitcom, not the Brothers Karamazov. I can bring you up to speed quickly.
Basically, Jerry and George visit one of their teenage haunts before it closes for good, a pizzeria with a crabby owner and a greasy Frogger arcade game. Looking at the machine's list of high scores, George is shocked to learn that he still holds the top position even after so many years. However, for neurotic George, this isn’t just a quirky novelty; it’s proof of his lasting significance, that he matters.
And so George resolves to buy the Frogger machine and thereby immortalize himself. Seeking the recommendation of a good electrician from his friend Kramer to insure continuous power (and therefore preservation of the digital record), George implores him, “Kramer, listen to me. I'm never gonna have a child. If I lose this Frogger high score, that's it for me.”
“If I lose this Frogger high score, that’s it for me.” That line kills me. Every time. It’s so absurd, so ridiculous - and yes, so me.
I’m always trying to find lasting proof of my significance, that my life matters. Sometimes, I seek it at home. Other times, I seek it at work. Still other times, I seek it on social media. Honestly, I seek it from everyone I meet, and everywhere I go. It’s all rather silly, only slightly more sophisticated than pegging my worth and significance to a 1980’s arcade game. And it never brings me lasting joy. Temporal things can’t provide enduring comfort.
Are you tempted to believe that certain accomplishments have the power to give you truly lasting significance? Are you ever tempted to think that particular relationships can completely validate you? Do you ever worry that what good you’ve done just isn’t good enough, that you’re forever judged inadequate? As you get older, do you worry that you’re running out of time to make your life truly matter? Do you find yourself fighting feelings of insecurity around others who know more, amassed more, learned more, or accomplished more than you? Well, if so, you’re not alone. Your neurotic friends, George and me, are here for you. Even better, so is Jesus.
It’s easy to believe the lie that our significance and identity ultimately rest on our activity. They don’t.
Child of God: It’s easy to believe the lie that our significance and identity ultimately rest on our activity. They don’t. They rest on the person and work of Jesus. By grace, he’s made us who we are. And because it’s his work that is decisive, not our own, we can’t mess it up. Our activity is not to earn an identity we presently lack; it is to enjoy the one we already have.
Yes, it’s great to accomplish goals. It’s wonderful to enjoy satisfying relationships. It can feel somewhat fulfilling to make the most of opportunities. However, remember that neither our successes nor our failures in these things can make us any more or any less God’s children. We're already and always secure and significant in God's great love, the greatest blessing of all. God will never love you any more or any less than he does right now, all because of Jesus.
So, even as you work today, you can rest. The world can’t give you anything greater than what you already have in Christ, and it sure can’t take it away.
You’re loved. Don’t forget it.