Ever felt like you were the low man on the totem pole, insignificant, not important, disposable? I admit that it has been easy for me to feel that way about myself at times. But lately, I’ve begun to see the low positions in life can actually be some of the most important.
After my freshman year in college, I worked at a factory where rubber parts were manufactured. It wasn’t exactly a glamorous position. And, admittedly, it was easy to think more highly of myself than those others. After all I was going to college. They weren’t.
But after a while, I began to see things a bit differently. The people I worked with that summer were some of the kindest, most humble and hard-working people I’ve ever known. They looked out for each other and, though I was new, they looked out for me, too.
There was one night when I was working on the line and falling behind on trimming my parts. Panic welled up in me as I fell further and further behind. When one of the other guys on the line walked up, I thought he was going to chew me out. But he didn’t. Instead, he silently grabbed some of my parts and began to trim them, too. No questions asked.
9 Believers who are[a] poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field.
Currently, I work at my kids’ school as a teacher’s aide. It’s not always the most desirable job. I have two recess duties. And in the winter, it’s cold and windy and snowy. What can I say, it’s Iowa. Sometimes the kids don’t always respect you the best either. After all, you’re not their teacher. It can kind of be a downer—leave me feeling like I’m not valued. But, when I stumbled across the above verse in James 1:9, it reminded me that God looks at things differently than man does.
It’s not bad to be low man on the totem pole. It doesn’t make you weak, or insignificant, or unknown. God knows you. He knows everything you do. He sees it all, and when you do your work willingly and well, he is proud of you.
At the same time, if you have one of those high-profile jobs, it’s easy to look at your status in life and feel overly proud and confident—to look down on those you feel have less important jobs in this world. But as the Scripture says, man looks at the outside, but God looks at our hearts.
Remember Jesus. He was King of Heaven and Earth. But he didn’t stay there. When it was time, he humbled himself, came down to this earth as a little baby and gave up his glory to save you and me.
As Philippians 2:5-8 says:
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God,[a]
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges[b];
he took the humble position of a slave[c]
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,[d]
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
It doesn’t matter so much what you do as how you do it. If it’s a job nobody else wants, do it with pride. Make the most of it. Realize that you are important and special in the grand scheme of things, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
No matter what your station or status in life is, don’t consider yourself more important than others or, on the other end of the spectrum, feel that what you do has no merit or value. We are all children of the same Heavenly Father and in that way, we are equal before him. Equally loved, equally cherished, equally valued. In that knowledge, be and do all that you were meant to on this side of eternity so that, in the end, you can say you lived your years to the fullest whatever your situation in life was.