Several years ago Time Magazine featured a story about the British actor Peter Sellers, who was famous for his role as the bumbling Chief Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies.
Once Sellers appeared on the Muppet Show and was being interviewed by Kermit The Frog. As the interview began, Kermit said to Sellers, “Now, just relax and be yourself.”
Peter Sellers responded, “I can’t be myself because I don’t know who I am. The real me doesn’t exist.”
Possibly Sellers was trying to be funny, but one of his longtime friends commented, “Poor Peter! The real Peter disappeared a long time ago. What he is now is simply an amalgamation of all the stage and screen characters he has ever played, and now he is frantically trying to unsnarl that mess and find out who he really is.”
In one of the great texts of the Bible, Psalm 8, David asks the question, “What is man?”
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor. (Ps 8:3-5)
What is man? The world provides all kinds of answers. An unplanned accident of nature. A product of evolution. A higher form of an animal. Just a collision and collection of molecules. Someone quipped that this kind of thinking might be called “From goo to you by way of the zoo.”
The Psalmist, however, as he gazed into the magnificence of a star-filled sky and the brightly shining moon, could only think of the grandeur of the Creator and His creation.
We’ve all experienced a feeling of smallness in the universe. No doubt, David felt the same way. A mere speck in the great expanse. Yet, his question, “What is man?” had an answer.
God has been mindful of man. He’s created in God’s image and after His likeness (Gen. 1:26). We’ve been given a mind to think. Emotions to feel. A conscience for a moral governor. And the power of choice. And most importantly, we’ve been created with a soul that will never die.
Man has been created just a little lower than the angels. Think about it. Angelic beings who have served as Jehovah’s special messengers. Angels who are ageless. Angels who’ve interacted with God’s greats throughout the centuries. Angels who announced the birth of the Savior into the world. We’re just a little lower than angels.
Man has been crowned with glory and honor. We’ve been blessed with an opportunity to carry out the will of God on earth. He created us with a plan in mind. With a purpose to fulfill. And predestinated that through Jesus Christ we could become His purchased possession to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:7-12).
What is man? He’s been endowed with great potential. He has intrinsic worth. Dignity. Value. And stature.
In a Psalm where David ponders the majesty of God and praises Him for his wondrous works of creation, it is interesting that he contemplates this question. What is man? David reminds us that even though God’s power is manifest in the cosmos, the crowning act of His creation was humankind.
God planted within each human being seeds of greatness. We can think lofty thoughts. We can experience love, feel compassion, and yearn for spiritual communion with the Creator. God desires a relationship with you. And through Jesus Christ, you can actually be a “partaker of the Divine nature.”
Like the little boy on the poster we can say, “I know I’m special cause, God don’t make no junk.”
Don’t settle for less than you’re created to be.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman