Last night at our Film Club we watched the Ron Howard film ‘A Beautiful Mind’.

First up – in general its a good film. I even found myself shedding a tear, the 2nd time round! It is a little Hollywood at times – the scores not one you’re going to rush out and buy on CD and the camera work is pretty typical. I also felt the length a bit, although that could be because I already knew what was going to happen.

The film tells the story of John Nash – a brilliant, but troubled mathematician. He struggles with social interaction but wants to stand out as something special. So he sets about finding a theory so distinctive that he’ll be the best. The film tracks his life from 1947 through to 1994 and charts his decline into mental illness as he struggles with standing out in a way that he doesn’t want to, and not standing out in the way he does.

The storyline of ‘success’ really hit me. I think most of us want in some way to do something special. It could be that we want to be part of a group that’s special (hence we form cliques) or we want to stand out and do something individualistically special.

And we fail. The film shows how much that quest messes a person up. We cannot achieve that greatness that we desire. And that’s because we’re not meant to.

Fundamentally its the problem of everyone. Some of us are a little more realistic that John Nash because we know our limitations, yet we still want to do something different, we want to be noticed.

That’s why this film resonates – it touches what so many of us desire and we want him to succeed because it creates the illusion that perhaps we can too. “The Only Thing Greater Than the Power of the Mind is the Courage of the Heart” is the tag line.

But God has a different story for us. It’s one where we fail… but that’s ok. In Ezekiel God explains why he’s going to mount an even greater Exodus that the first one – and it’s not because Israel is special, or beautiful, or has great potential – it is for one simple reason… for God’s name.

God is supremely bothered about his name and reputation. That’s why he saves – so that he is shown to be great and merciful. That’s pretty egotistical, but then God can think everything revolves around him because it does.

There’s a nice Christian song called ‘Above all’ and talks about how Jesus is above everything. But then it makes the biggest gaff in the final line of the chorus. Apparently, according to the song, the thing that Jesus thought about above all on the cross was… me!

But according to the Bible the thing that God thinks above all in saving us is… himself.

However that is great news for us. Because in showing the world how great he is he does rescue us, he makes us his people, he cleanses us, he provides for us, he makes us beautiful and he raises us to the heights of being co-heirs with his Son!

I’m so glad that I’m in a Gospel Community where I am daily reminded of this fact. It is not all about me. I can have ambitions, and I can fail… and it doesn’t matter because it is all about him and his glory. You know, with this one could end up failing at all exams, job interviews and end up with a dead end job. But God still wants to be glorified in dead end jobs. People still need rescuing in dead end jobs.

So wherever we are, whatever we end up doing, ‘successfully’ or in utter failure, we can still seek to point to, not a beautiful mind, but a beautiful saviour.

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