The salesman was sure we would jump at the thought of being “somebody.” What makes somebody important to people in today’s world? What about to God?
“We’ll give you the car for free, if …”
There is something about the word free that is so enticing! So when the resort agent told my wife and me that “the vacation rental car’s free if you’ll just listen to our time-share presentation,” we caved in.
So we painfully endured a long, two-hour sales pitch, with growing doubts that a free car was worth this. We made it clear they were wasting their time—we weren’t spending money we didn’t have—but they were not deterred, and eventually we were handed off to a higher-level salesman. When he turned up the pressure, it then turned into a battle of wills—he was determined to make a sale, and I was determined that he wouldn’t.
Finally, he played his last card. Pushing the papers aside and leaning forward, he very intently said, “You know, a few years ago my wife and I bought a time-share here. Now, every time we come she says, ‘Whenever I am here, I can be somebody! For two weeks out of the year, I come here and I am somebody.’ Think about that—you own a condo here, and you can be somebody!”
Maybe the you-can-be-somebody card works sometimes, but we barely avoided bursting out laughing. We could have been insulted (“are you saying we’re nobody unless we have a time-share here?”), but instead we politely smiled and waved good-bye (in our free rental car).
But that instantly became our vacation joke. We’d wake and ask, “Do you feel like you’re somebody today?”
Or, “If we eat in this restaurant, maybe we’ll be somebody.”
Or, “I wonder if that person is somebody?”
Or, “I wonder if anyone thinks I’m somebody?”
What does it mean to be somebody?
After a while, though, we started thinking about the serious side of the concept. Just what does it mean to be somebody in the world today? The answer actually reveals a lot about one’s values.
Often the media highlights the rich, famous, beautiful and powerful. Movie stars, musicians, professional athletes and entrepreneurs. The Hollywood A-listers and the Silicon Valley rock stars. The moguls and the trendsetters.
But is money, fame or beauty the real measure of significance—of being somebody?
Who is somebody to God?
God has always thought about this. In Jeremiah 9 He says, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches” (verse 23).
It’s not wrong to want to be somebody; it’s just that God is here redefining the bedrock values really worth striving for.But aren’t these still today among society’s most common values? It’s not so strange that our salesman would try to appeal to those ideals.
“But let him who glories glory in this,” God continued, “that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth” (verse 24).
Redefining our values
It’s not wrong to want to be somebody; it’s just that God is here redefining the bedrock values really worth striving for.
Understanding and knowing God will make you somebody! Somebody whose relationship with Him is based on sincerity and truth. Somebody who is spiritually changing and steering his life in a different direction than most in the world around us. Somebody who can handle life’s ups and downs because God is with her. Somebody who lives with hope in the future He promises. Somebody who may not own a resort condo, but who has a share in the coming Kingdom of God.
Since you’re reading Discern or visiting our sponsoring website, LifeHopeandTruth.com, I suspect you also scoff at the idea of being somebody for two weeks out of the year. You are probably trying to define your life by greater and longer-lasting values. We’re on the same quest!
Behind every article in Discern is the desire to help readers understand and know God and His way of life. To be somebody like that is all the somebody we need to be.