The Quest for Significance


Our character will be shaped by the audience to whom we play.

Blessed is the one You choose and bring near to live in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple (Psalm 65:4).
God will keep me strong to the end, so that I will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom I was called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:8-9).

In Robert Bolt’s play, A Man for All Seasons, there is a scene in which Richard Rich, an ambitious young man, asks Thomas More for a position in the court of Henry VIII. Instead, More tells Rich that he should become a teacher, not a courtier—”You’d be a good teacher.” Rich objects: “And if I were, who would know it?” More’s response is illuminating: “Yourself, your friends, your pupils, God; pretty good public that!”

We are called to play in God’s great drama, and it is not the size of our role but the audience to whom we play that makes all the difference. If we are ambitious to be impressive before people, we will never attain the true significance we seek. Instead, significance is found in the simple ambition to be pleasing to God and faithful to His calling for our life, whether our part appears to be great or small.

Later in the play, Rich compromises his integrity to attain political prominence, and betrays Thomas More through perjury in order to gain the position of Collector of Revenues for Wales. More is condemned through this treachery, and as Rich leaves the court, More tells him: “You know, Rich, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?” 

Our character will be shaped by the audience to whom we play.

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