I love to go the movies. My wife Tammy and I see a lot of movies, usually one a week. My all-time favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. I watch the film each Christmas season, you know, to see if Clarence will get his wings.
In the film, George Bailey, played by James Stewart, is a man who has given up his dreams of traveling the world in order to help others, and has recently fallen on hard times. Because his Uncle Billy has misplaced the bank deposits and inadvertently given them to the evil Mr. Potter, George is in serious trouble, and could end up going to prison. He realizes that he is worth more dead than alive (due to having life insurance) and tries to commit suicide. But his guardian angel Clarence, who had been sent down to save George, and thereby earn his angel wings, jumps into the river and saves George. Depressed and hopeless, George tells Clarence that he wishes he had never been born. But Clarence tells him that he must not ever talk like that, and then takes George on a journey showing him what life in Bedford Falls would have been like had he never been born. He is able to see just how much he has impacted the lives of the people in his small town, and just how different their lives would have been if he had never been born.
You may be depressed and hopeless, just as George was. Or, you may think that your life hasn’t made much of an impact. Perhaps you are thinking that the world would be better off without you. If that sounds like you, consider just what impact you’ve had on others in these three areas of your life. Family – For example, if I had not been born my parents would have had only one son, rather than two. My brother and sister would have had one less sibling. My nieces and nephews would have had one less uncle to play with them. My wife Tammy would have married someone else. What about you? You may have had children and perhaps now even grandchildren. If you had not been born, they would have been deprived of a wonderful parent or grandparent. In addition, your spouse would have not experienced the love that you have given them.
Church – If I had not been born, my church would never have had me as an elder or small group leader. If you had not been born, your church would not have had you as a Sunday School teacher for the youth, or a worker in the nursery. They would have been deprived of your gifts and the times when you were such an encouragement to others, or led someone to the Lord.
Work – If I had not been born, hundreds of employees would have had a different leader in the organization that I had worked at. Perhaps they would have had a better leader, but never a person who cared more about them as individuals. If you had not been born think of all of the results that would not have been achieved for your organization. But much more than that, think of the personal impact – kindness, character, caring, friendship – that those who would have worked with you would have missed out on.
It’s easy to think that our lives don’t matter. But that’s not true at all. The Lord fashioned you in a unique manner and blessed you with wonderful gifts and talents. Don’t ever think that it would have been better had you never been born. Instead, give thanks to the One who provided you with your wonderful life. And perhaps you too can be a Clarence to others who are hurting within your areas of influence.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Jeremiah 1:5a
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in Your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10