“I yam who I yam!” (Popeye)

In the Jewish Talmud, the comparison is made between how the Romans made coins in the image of Caeser and how God created people in His image. Whereas the Roman coins all looked the same, God’s creations are all unique. Put another way, the Romans’ goal was to “Hail, Caeser!” while God wanted to create individuals with individual talents and gifts to contribute to all of Creation.

Having said that, many of us are mystified by just what our talents and gifts might be and whether we really can make a meaningful contribution to all of Creation. As uncomfortable as the question might be, there may be a very obvious clue to the answer: what do we do that gives us a sense of satisfaction? While it is common for people to say that, to be happy, they need to have lots of money or an idle lifestyle or power or whatever, true satisfaction comes from being able to do well what we like to do. “Do what you love and you never work a day in your life.”

All of us are not born to formulate the laws of quantum physics, but we should not underestimate what we can do–for ourselves and for those around us. It is also not presumptuous to think that God has created us for distinct purposes that may not be altogether clear at any point in time. The Jewish existentialist, Martin Buber, used to tell the story of Zusya who was terrified of dying. When asked why he was so afraid, he answered, “I have done so little. My life was nothing compared to, say, Moses.” One student told him, “When you reach heaven, God will not ask you why you were not Moses. God already made a Moses. When you go to heaven, God will only ask you whether you were Zusya.”

How many of us are prepared to answer that same question?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *