Help for Seeing Ourselves as Small

Do you know how many people experts estimate live on this planet?  Seven billion, twenty-five million, four hundred twenty thousand, three hundred ninety.  According to “Anonymous” the author of Embracing Obscurity, that’s “hardly fodder for self-importance”.

In chapter one of Embracing Obscurity, the author aims at helping his readers grasp the reality that the vast majority of us aren’t going to be history-making, world changers who stand as memorials along the pathway of time.  He quotes Ecclesiastes 1:11 to bring us toward this conclusion: “There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.”

Not only are we surrounded by some seven billion other people in this world (not to mention all the people who lived before us), but the author brings up the reality that there are billions of species that we will never see (specialists estimate that the different species of fungi reach 1.5 million).  Plus, when we look to the universe, our galaxy alone houses one hundred billion stars.  To these numbers he asks, “Feeling small yet?”

The author’s reason for quantifying these things is to help us realize (and be content with) the fact that God’s plan for 99.9% of us is to die and very easily be forgotten.  As the author says, to many of us this seems “a grave injustice”.  If asked the old Sunday school question, “Which Bible story character would you like to be?”, how many of us would choose the young boy who faithfully offered Jesus his lunch to be used in feeding the five thousand, but remains nameless in Scripture (author’s illustration)?  Though we’d likely never say it out loud, many of us love the idea of being studied by future generations because of something we accomplished, but most of us aren’t meant to be part of that .1%.

This may be a dreadfully depressing blog post for you to read, but it really is good news… especially when you consider that your life is not about you and your whole purpose in existing is to exalt the one who it is about: Jesus Christ.  One day every knee will bow and ever tongue will confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).  God, bring us to our knees and put Jesus on our lips today, so we can know the satisfaction of being a nobody for Christ.


About Brent Osterberg

Ransomed sinner, husband to Keri, father to the kiddos three, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX, and lover of most things epic. View all posts by Brent Osterberg

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