THESE days, with television, movies, and other media playing a central role in people's lives, we're more aware than ever of public figures. Television, for instance, creates celebrities, suggesting to us who is important and, by implication, who isn't. Sometimes prominent people have contributed much that we're grateful for. But there are also those in the spotlight who offer little for our edification. If we've ever felt insignificant compared to those we see and hear about in the media, we might think less about human comparisons and more about the things that count the most. Christ Jesus' teachings bring out the importance of humility, purity, compassion, of receptivity to and worship of the one God. These are what give us stature, whatever we're doing. They lead the way to the deepest, truest kind of progress.
The human scheme of things, by its very nature, includes those in highly influential positions as well as those whose work is more modest. It includes a diversity of talents, skills, and backgrounds. It shows us that no two individuals are exactly alike. But no one need be deprived of making an important contribution, because how we benefit society relates primarily to the quality of our thoughts and of our day-to-day living, not to our line of work.
This is not to say, of course, that our work is unimportant or that every job is equally beneficial to the world. But what matters the most is the degree to which we're expressing the divine nature in what we do. As Jesus instructed, ``Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.''
In the spiritual reality of existence, man already is God's perfect image. He has always been God's cherished spiritual likeness. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``The great truth in the Science of being, that the real man was, is, and ever shall be perfect, is incontrovertible; for if man is the image, reflection, of God, he is neither inverted nor subverted, but upright and Godlike.''
Because this is the truth of being, our actual selfhood, we can, by degrees, demonstrate our God-given perfection in fulfillment of Jesus' teaching. We can put off ``the old man,'' to use St. Paul's words, and see more of who we really are shine through. Who we really are is God's humble reflection, expressing God-given dominion, not an exalted human personality. Who we really are expresses purity, wisdom, love, spiritual strength -- qualities inherent in God's nature and reflected by man. These are our true substance, the qualities that, when lived, exalt us.
Jesus taught, as Luke records, ``Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.'' His words show us that in the final analysis the demonstration of our true, God-given stature relates to our humble yielding to God's government, not to human maneuvering or manipulation or to any form of worldly thinking.
God doesn't see important people or obscure people. He sees man as He created him. He sees each of us in our actual, spiritual being as the vital, indispensable expression of His nature. Each of us, then, is important in God's sight, and the basis of this reality is totally spiritual. It has nothing to do with fame or lack of it, nothing to do with superficial estimates of someone's worth. It has everything to do with our true status as His image. God exalts us as we yield to this truth in thought and action.