I must confess, I occasionally click on those silly pop-culture posts dancing in my Facebook feed like the cyber-version of the supermarket tabloids (don’t judge me). The most recent “where are they now?” featured an actor from one of my favorite TV shows of all time. My wife and I rarely missed an episode of House, living vicariously through the filterless, brutal commentary of the cranky, yet brilliant, diagnostician.
This particular headline teased the post-show whereabouts of House’s closest friend, Robert Sean Leonard (affectionally known as Wilson). I was curious as to what he’s been up to, so I clicked (I said don’t judge me). While his dramatic resume is rather rich, I was surprised to hear Leonard talk so openly of his love for being the “second guy.”
“I like being the best friend,” he said. “I love my role the way it is.”
Since House’s wrap, those are the exact kind of roles he’s continued to pursue. His skills are critically acclaimed, but you’ll still almost always find him with a minor part. While most of us would would clamor for the gold star on our dressing room door and the much bigger paycheck, here’s a guy who actually aspires to be a supporting actor.
But it got me thinking. This is exactly the way we were designed to live. It’s true. Tim Keller calls it “the dance.”
We were meant to center our lives around God and to serve other people. That’s not just a nice, moralistic suggestion. It’s where we find our meaning, it’s where we secure our identity, it’s where we encounter our deepest joy. It’s the way God created us.
Yet most of us instinctively view ourselves as the main character in our own story. We fight to put our stake in the ground, to pen the narrative from our own perspective, to negotiate for headliner wages. We spend our days wondering why the world (and even God Himself) doesn’t do a better job of playing a supporting role to our brilliant thespianism. And most of us are pretty unfulfilled and frustrated.
When we approach life as if we are playing the lead role, we completely whiff on life’s meaning. And we will struggle to find any rest or peace.
When Jesus summed up the entirety of God’s Word into two simple concepts – love God and love other people – he wasn’t just giving us a nice command we should try and obey if we can somehow muster the spiritual stamina. He was showing us where to find our true selves.
We find joy when we stop seeing ourselves as the central character of the story. We were designed as beloved members of the supporting cast.