Everyone who has seen the movie loves Forest Gump. Yet, I’ve never heard anyone say they wanted to be like Forest Gump.
According to the story, Forest inspired Elvis Presley’s dance style. But have you ever heard a choreographer admit to patterning their career after Forest? Later in the movie, Forest played football for Bear Bryant at Alabama –yet no aspiring athlete aims to be like Forest. He met with JFK and LBJ in the Whitehouse, yet I’ve never heard an ambitious teenager pattern their life to follow in his steps. He even became an international Ping-Pong star and later started a successful shrimp company.
Why, then, do you never hear parents encouraging their children to “be like Forest?”
Perhaps its because the manner in which Forest lived his life. He was a humble man who, for the most part, stumbled into major historical moments. For most of us, we prefer to take charge of the moment and “make things happen,” rather than being an afterthought.
But have you ever considered the fact that Christ never calls us to control our own destiny or make a name for ourselves? Rather, Jesus bids us to die to ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. Instead of building our Kingdom, we are to build His Kingdom. And, instead of making a name for ourselves, we are to lift up His name and renown to all nations.
What amazes me is the way that Christ uses humble men, committed to him, in order to change the world. Much like Forest Gump, humble followers of Christ are placed in historical moments. Only in this case, it is clearly by the design and hand of God working through His children for His Kingdom.
I love the way Proverbs 30:28 explains this truth: “The lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces.” In other words, although ambitious men may spend a lifetime attempting to enter the palace (Think Oval Office), God delights in placing humble creatures in the most exalted positions. It was true of Moses, Joseph, David, and other men of God throughout the ages. Of course the ultimate example of humility is in Christ, who, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11).
In Christ, the example has been set for us to, “Humble [ourselves] before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10).
Don’t get me wrong, humbling yourself before the Lord does not mean you are going to end up on the cover of TIME or be invited to the East Room of the Whitehouse for a state dinner. Instead, it means that you will have discovered the more abundant life in which Christ is King and all the fulfillment others are looking for in status, experiences, and recognition, you will have found in a relationship.
And, who knows, along the way you just might have some great adventure. Life’s like a box of chocolates, you know!