Did you know you matter? It’s all about perspective and a lack of it. If you thought you were amazing, you’d feel better about yourself. If you knew you were loved, you wouldn’t feel so despondent. So many things can go wrong when we don’t know who we are. We can grow depressed and suffer a minuscular self-worth. For others, their self-worth is associated with temporal things such as power and possessions: things as useful as a snowman on an hot day. It may seem fun for a moment, but in the context of the grand scheme of things, it is momentary and insignificant. If one lacks prestigious employment or a pretty face, they feel second tier and cheated of happiness. Melancholy can be insidious, particularly when generated by unimportant reasons. It can impair the pace of our journey and obscure the path we should trod. We live in a Prozac society and we are a Prozac generation. How can a train locomotive guide us to completion?
I know, some of you are still reeling; “what do you mean that money and material aren’t important”? “How can you possibly feel good about yourself if you have a nose like a proboscis monkey? Looks matter”! I see where you’re coming from, and I’m not trying to trivialize your pain (and if you saw my nose you’d know I was sincere). Being attractive makes us feel better about ourselves. Having money and influence makes life easier. Or does it? I guess it depends on what you want to make easier. What is your purpose in life? This is the age old question that the philosophers juggled. But to avoid hollow plenitudes, the question should be: "how should I live my life"? Unexpectedly, there is a compass of a cartoon that offers direction. And there is a sage tank engine that preaches with actions and not with words. His name is Thomas.
If you don’t know who Thomas is, I’ll garner you haven’t been in a toy store for a long, long time. A gentleman named Reverend Awdry authored a series of books documenting the lives of several trains inhabiting the island of Sodor, of which, Thomas the tank engine was a paramount character. If you take the time to watch it, you’ll see an important lesson woven into the animated tapestry.
Buried within this time worn classic is a lesson that can enrich and invigorate your life; a lesson that can give you fulfillment and a sense of belonging.
A particular value is repeatedly highlighted and exemplified by Thomas. Thomas strives to be an “useful” engine.
Thomas is a steam engine. He was engineered and created with intent and purpose. And he knows that fulfillment comes by meeting his created function. He knows that his value is proportional to his usefulness. There are some trains that are bigger and some that are smaller. Some are steam and some are diesel. Some are rusty and some are shiny. All were made with purpose and all strive to fulfill that purpose. Self-worth comes from understanding who and what you are.
Likewise, humanity was created by Almighty God. That same all powerful, all knowing Being that scattered the stars across the universe like sand on a sidewalk. That’s Who intentionally took the time to form you. Your value comes from your Maker. And irrespective of what anyone may think about you, He values you. Thus, you are invaluable. Knowing you were made by God and for God gives perspective. And it gives purpose. For God made us to value Him: We were made for His glory. By glorifying God we fulfill the purpose we were made for. And we find joy.