We're all fascinated by greatness.
Sometimes it's because we think, with a few breaks, we could be great too.
Picture the kid in his driveway shooting baskets until it's too dark to see, in all kinds of weather, dreaming of being the next Lebron James or Steph Curry.
A version of the dream could come true. Zion Willamson, probably aspiring to be Kobe Bryant or Lebron seems to have become the first Zion Williamson, which is pretty cool too.
Most of us never achieve any semblance of the dream we had in that driveway. And we sometimes struggle with a warped perspective as a result.
Because celebrities - whether artists, athletes, leaders, inventors, etc - seem highly accessible. You can read about them, hear their music, watch their games, see their movies, and use their inventions. You can learn about their personal stories through interviews, magazine profiles, biographies, or documentary films.
They seem close enough to touch, even though they are not. You feel like you know Tom Hanks, Lady Gaga, Tom Brady, or even Bill Gates. They feel like friends, important people in your life, and undeniably great at what they do.
Because they are so accessible and relatable, some of us subliminally merge their talent level with our own potential. If we are young, up, and coming, we dream of being like them. If you are older, maybe you're mature and/or if you have been successful in some other field, you simply marvel at them, ignoring the fact that your talent didn't quite get you there when you (theoretically) had a chance.
If you're prone to bitterness for whatever reason, you may boo them, criticize what they do, suggest unseemly shortcuts they may have taken, and otherwise denigrate the greatness that they've achieved.
That doesn't mean you have to like them. Except for Tom Hanks. It's a law in 34 (pending in 9 more) states that residents are REQUIRED to like him.
And now that he has left New England, NOBODY likes Tom Brady ANYWHERE.
But whether you like them or not, a rational mind has to admire the dizzy levels of achievement these folks have achieved. That rational mind should also respect the hard work that went along with any breaks or luck that went their way coming up.
Many of us worked very hard but simply were not talented enough to make the leap from what Master Yoda distinguishes as 'do' versus 'try.'
Others had raw talent but lacked the passion, which leads to the work ethic, which leads to refined, powerful talent which, with time and opportunity, leads to greatness.
A very few others have it all - highly refined talent, passion, opportunity - but for whatever reason, flame out. The passion that got them there ebbs, their focus drifts, their desire to improve disappears, thinking they have 'made it.'
They may coast for a while, letting reputation or raw ability carry them along at a less-than-great level. Then something happens, whether an ill-timed failure, a scandal, an accident, or a health issue sinks their battleship. They become a subject of 'Whatever happened to...' conversations.
In real life, the world doesn't actually NEED tens or hundreds of Tom Hanks. We need one. Fortunately, we have him.
As great a singer as she is, only one Lady Gaga is required. Thankfully, we have her.
For every transcendent Muhammad Ali, there are hundreds of Duane Bobicks or Marvis Fraziers or Leon Spinks.
We have had our Ali. There will not be another.
In real life, the world will never have tens, or hundreds, or thousands, or millions, or even two of anybody.
In real life, the world does not NEED, nor will it PRODUCE extras.
In real life, the world only absolutely requires, exactly one you.
God created you with a unique set of traits, talents, skills, idiosyncrasies, strengths, limitations, quirks, biases, predilections, and abilities in a one-of-a-kind masterpiece whom the master absolutely adores.
You are the Lord's masterpiece.
You were made for a purpose that is special and for which you are specially equipped. You are perfectly shaped to do what God wants you to do.
Do you know what He wants you to do? Great, then go do it.
He will absolutely bless your efforts. He will teach you along the way, you must simply trust Him. He will not disappoint.
But if you don't know what your purpose is, you're sunk, right?
WRONG! He will lead you to it, help you find it, give you confidence in it. He will bless your efforts and your journey.
He will teach you along the way, you must simply trust Him. He will not disappoint.
So whether you know your purpose without a doubt, or if you have no idea what purpose you possibly could have, the directive is the same: He will teach you along the way, you must simply trust Him. He will not disappoint.
I pray that this message reaches whoever needs to read it.
I pray that whoever reads it finds encouragement, confidence, joy, and renewed enthusiasm to follow the path that Jesus will lead them on.
You must simply trust Him. He will not disappoint.
In the holy name of Jesus, I pray, Amen!
Thanks for reading. God bless you.
Jim Donaher is a writer, blogger, and author of the soon to be published, "Call Him, He's Home: Learning Prayer to Start and Grow Your Relationship with God" Click the title to read an excerpt.