What does the Gospel really say to the desire for success and status, the longing to be better, more powerful, better off than our neighbors? It says there is a far greater status than the wildest dreams of success we could possibly hope for. It informs us we are known to God, and by his help we can turn our lives to pleasing him, and that we are indeed loved. It tells us too that worldly success is of secondary importance, we should regard what success we attain as a gift from God. And we should learn to be content with what success we are given, not long for more. It really doesn’t matter that much if we are better off or better known than our rivals. If God gave us more gifts of success, that is good. If he gave us fewer gifts of success, that too is good. We can learn to trust and bless God for the gifts he has given and the gifts he has not given. Success and status are not finite in quantity, that my neighbor getting more diminishes how much I could receive. God is infinite in love and attention, there is more than enough honor for everyone.
How great a gift would be real contentment! To know deep down that you are chosen, loved intensely by God, prepared for a unique and thoroughly meaningful niche within the kingdom not yet fully come. To understand that your desire to be known, to be recognized, is fulfilled beyond your wildest dreams. Your maker chooses you, includes you, plans for you. To understand in that light that for others to be recognized, acclaimed or talked about does not diminish the unimaginable gifts you are given. Status and acclaim in this life is only temporary, only a small part of what is to come. We all long to be recognized, be known for something, we grab at any chance to get noticed, and put down or are jealous of those who get more notice than we do. Why not remember the wealth we have from God, and accept that the small trinkets of worldly acclaim and status are distributed unfairly. Where we get more than our share, let us be humble, thank God for those gifts rather than take them as our due. Where we get less than our share, let us be patient, and strive to remember the wealth of recognition we receive and will receive from God.