John Maxwell, on his birthday, said, “There are two great days in a person’s life. One, the day they were born. And second, the day they discovered why.”
In Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes* (yes, this is a shameless promo but it also illustrates a point), Wayne Daniels experiences a heavenly afterlife. He travels with friends toward Father’s house. At one point, the travelers stop in an apple orchard, introduce Wayne to new friends, and have a bite to eat.
As juice streaked down his chin, Wayne looked up at the others and smiled.
Marlea fixed her gaze on him and returned his smile. She asked, “So what’s so special about you, Wayne Daniels?”
Wayne coughed, spraying a few small bits of apple and juice in the direction of his inquisitor. Still trying to clear his throat, he put his apple down and said, “Excuse me?”
With the look of a curious child, head tipped to one side, fingers playing with a dangling curl just behind an ear, Marlea asked again, “What makes you so special?”
The beautiful woman’s question didn’t come across as harsh or unkind. It just seemed odd. Wayne had never in his life thought about what made him special.
He had felt in a general way special in God’s eyes, even occasionally felt like the unique object of the Father’s love, but he had never thought about what specifically made him special or unique. Wasn’t that a bit presumptuous? Or self-centered? Or selfish? Or something?
Feeling his cheeks warm from the focused attention, Wayne found speaking difficult. Embarrassed, he stuttered. “I… I… don’t really know. I… I… guess
I… I… I’ve never given it any thought.” He stumbled over every dad-blasted “I” he came to.
Wayne Daniels sputtered at the thought of having to say, “Hey, I’m special and this is why.”
But what does the Bible suggest? Is it okay to feel special, to know you have unique talents, or to recognize that you’re gifted?
David said, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14 NIV).
God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart …” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV).
Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31 NIV).
In Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell discusses his Olympic involvement with his zealous-for-the-mission-field sister Jennie. This line from the movie is one of my all-time favorites. “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
You and I were born. That’s a given. After all, our births explain a whole lot (and middle-school health class explained the process in more detail than my little junior-high heart was prepared for—oh, I am so old).
That doesn’t happen without some birthdays.
But we were also born for a purpose.
I’m curious then. What’s so special about you?
*Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes is my first novel and will debut this spring. It explores the afterlife against the backdrop of heaven, hell, and modern-day San Antonio.
Recommended link: John Maxwell speaks about the word “excel.” (You, my friend, weren’t born to be average.)
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