In her autobiography My Life, Golda Meir tells of returning as an adult to the Milwaukee school she attended as a child. Among other things, she told the children that deciding the kind of people they would be excelled any career achievement. That meant being involved in what helped others rather than enriched them. With positive personality development as their priority, their career choice wouldn’t define their worth.
Golda was “right on,” as Christians must know. What we are as people exceeds how we make a living or how we serve God. A good attitude elevates any low-position job. Unbridled egotism humbles even the highest-skill career. We can be taught to do most anything, however difficult. Only God can make us the kind of person he honors.
So, Being is superior to Doing. Bernard Baruch learned that the day he informed his dad he’d made his first million. His dad looked puzzled and shrugged his shoulders in a “so what” pose. Only later did Baruch understand his father’s response. For later in life he wished he’d been a doctor or a lawyer instead of a financier. As General MacArthur wished he’d been a peacemaker, not a warrior. Like the late Bear Bryant, we often wish we’d been better Christians. But we never long to be anything but a Christian.
Even the most successful people have regrets over opportunities missed. Even they don’t reach all their goals. We all dreamed dreams that failed to materialize. As we review our past life, we find that we’ve grown older quicker than we expected and accomplished less than we planned. And the self-accusatory failure syndrome sets in.
Don’t let it. What we are and remain as individuals will always be much more significant than what we DO! True: we are of the flesh, and we all tread the city streets. But, as Masefield wrote, “In our hearts we can all be kings and queens.” Let us beseech Jesus: whatever we lack in work or intellectual skills, build in us a character equal to any responsibility.