I’ve been thinking. Our purpose in life is kind of like cleaning your teeth.
When ya clean your teeth, ya brush, and ya floss.
Well, honestly, I don’t floss. (Ew!) But my dentists always tell me to when they notice I don’t floss.
Brushing is glorified. It’s what makes you feel clean. It’s what’s seen. It makes the most visible impact. It hits way more surface area of your teeth than floss.
But it’s the little nooks and crannies that end you up in trouble.
You could use this for a personal example. As in, you need integrity. But that’s not what I’m thinking about. I’m thinking about a global impact.
Lots of people glorify huge, effective ministries. We tend to think, if we’re not part of some big organization doing something really meaningful, we’re settling. We’re missing out. FOMO!!!
If you don’t know, FOMO means Fear Of Missing Out. It’s a symptom of the Millennial generation that we’re afraid we’re always missing something “out there” that’s cooler or more important. Like seeing a TV show live instead of after the fact. Orrr working at a restaurant and wishing we were doing what we got a degree for. Orrr not going to Kansas to save lives and fight social injustice against women (yes, I’m still working through that).
But. What if you are called to be floss?
I think I would describe myself as a jealous little piece of floss. I want to be on the “front lines,” man. The “front lines” of culture. Wherever that is. Apparently, there is no culture here to be had or anything…
I’m this piece of floss that’s like, “Oh my gosh! Look at that huge brush! It’s cleaning like crazy! And here I am, stuck between a molar and a bicuspid. In the back. I want to make difference! I’m afraid I’m not doing enough. I’m missing out.
And so I give up, and the rest of the mouth gets brushed, but those poor little teeth, unbeknownst to me, since I’m looking enviously at the brush, are starting to form little tiny holes. Also known as, cavities.
Those little holes. Are responsible for the most teeth problems in the continental ‘Merica.
Are you like me? Do you have… brush envy?
You don’t realize how significant you are.
You’re just one person. But within your life, you can do a lot, and you can do not a lot. Rest is important. Sure. But when you’re not doing a lot, make sure it’s because you’re resting and enjoying yourself. Really enjoying that time. If you’re idle because of fear or envy or anxiety… why? It’s not even fun. It’s not helping anybody.
I don’t know exactly how. And yes, God’s grace covers where we lack… though I’m not quite sure how. Because I have this feeling He doesn’t tell us to lay down our lives when really we don’t actually need to, just because He already did His part. But what I can say is, your life matters. What you’re doing MATTERS. Because the people in your life MATTER.
Your work. It matters. Because it affects people who last forever. Nothing physical will last forever. But the souls around you will last forever. So love those souls. When you walk on the street, you never brush shoulders with a mere mortal. Remember that the next time you go to class or drive around your neighborhood.
In the same way, there are some people (the brush people!) who will impact many, many lives. But there are others (the floss people!) who impact just a few little nooks and crannies of a community. ALL of them matter.
But unlike teeth, a soul can’t be replaced.
Your job can be replaced. A toothbrush can be replaced. But you can’t be replaced.
So, whether you’re a brush or a floss, be where you are. Realize how much your life matters.
Don’t you dare live just to survive.
Don’t you dare live a life in fear meant to be lived in love.
Don’t you dare misuse the life that was given you as a gift, wallowing in stupid envy!!
And if you happen to be a brush, don’t you dare look down on the people who are serving in the corners of the earth, humbly, in secret. They are no less important than you are. Their work is no less admirable. Because God himself wasted His life on what was a lost cause. May we strive to waste our lives just like the One who alone is wise.
If we all simply loved right where we’re put, cooperating with where the hands moved us,
nobody would slip through the cracks.
And, for good measure, Song of Songs 6:6.
And now, let us go to the corners of the mouth— er, earth. Psalm 2:8.
That corner may be just the nook you’re in at this very moment.
Thanks for the reminder. I needed it.