For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7, verse 28.
Supremacy: we all want to be top dog. Your pastor, your boss, your competitive bestie, you siblings, your peers: each of them – and you and I – has an innate desire to be the big cheese. One of the most competitive, almost ruthless, people I’ve ever known was the first girl I ever loved. She was the smartest person I had met until then as well as one of the poorest, lacking self-esteem while harboring huge insecurities. She had long before rejected faith and had embraced some worldly ways that she said brought her clarity. Her insecurities and cheap gospel of the goddess drove her to push herself academically and personally, in some ways obsessively. When I knew her, she was driven to be the top student in her class (and she almost made it, graduating salutatorian in front of a class of her peers who looked down on her because she wasn’t rich and cool). I don’t know what ever happened to her; she’s probably a top dog someplace.
I wonder if she feels hollow.
We feel hollow because we who want to be the big cheese are actually weak and small people. The verses referenced (below) from Hebrews talk about the weaknesses of the men who are priests. Your pastor, your leaders, and your humble servant proverbialist are imperfect people. We use bad language; we occasionally suffer from road rage (or at least some transgression against the traffic laws); we can be arrogant; we are plagued by lust and insecurity and judgmental tendencies and impatience. We could rattle off any number of sins and imperfections and chances are your name could be attached to one or more of them. Ditto Billy Graham, Pope Francis, and the saintly little old lady you call “Grandma.”
Years ago, a therapist friend recommended that I read a book called “The Search for Significance” (by Robert McGee). Great book, full of keen insights on the spiritual tendencies of man. One of the author’s main points is that, aside from Christ, our significance is elusive. The highest significance that we can attain in this life is to realize we are loved fully and perfectly by Jesus Christ. Everything else is less; everything else is insignificant (in the long run) compared to being found worthy by the Lamb of God.
I think that is because, in Jesus, we don’t have to prove we’re top dog. We don’t have to drive ourselves to do or say things so as to gain advantage. In Jesus, we don’t have a weak peer of a pastor or priest, someone plagued by sin just like us. In Jesus, we have a perfect priest, a perfect intermediary between where I am and God the Father. In Jesus, we can find true significance instead of fleeting fame or fortune. When I’m overwhelmed, Jesus the priest is perfect. When I’m warm and snug in my bed, Jesus the priest is perfect. When I’m typing these words, slogging through a meeting, cleaning out the garage, or picking up my in-laws at the airport, Jesus the priest is perfect. In Him, I always have someone who will give me the straight scoop I need while doing so in ways to build me up and make me aspire to be better.
In Jesus and only in Jesus, I’m significant. So, friend reader, are you.
For further reading: Hebrews 5:2, Hebrews 1:2, Hebrews 2:10.
Lord Jesus, it’s cheesy to say, but You’re the real ‘top dog’ (though You sure aren’t a dog). Thank You for making me significant, for being the perfect priest I desperately need, for always being here where I am.