Little people have big dreams. Remember when you were a kid and you dreamed about success on the big stage?
For lots of us, the big stage we wanted was a packed sports stadium (think Super Bowl or World Series). For others, it was the movie or music industry (think pop culture icon). For others, it was just our little school hallway (think high school hero). And for still others, it was just the approval of one specific person (boy/girl, parent, sibling etc.).
"Get there," we thought, "and it will be enough for me."
Whatever your preferred big stage was, the biggest stage in all of sports has rolled around on the calendar again…the NFL's Super Bowl. And in a few days, a handful of grown men are going to go home as the winners. Their boyhood dreams will be fulfilled. They'll get all kinds of congrats texts, calls, and parties. After all, they made it to their big stage and succeeded. They deserve it.
But we've got a hunch that it won't satisfy their souls. It can't.
That's right. Despite all the bright lights and fanfare and winner's parades, we believe that the football world champions will still have hearts that ache for more. They'll wonder what's next. Life will go on. Even their greatest, self-actualizing victory won't satisfy them.
Don't believe us? (That's fair, we haven't won Super Bowls.) So maybe you can believe Tom Brady.
When Tom Brady was 30 years old, he hadn't just been to the Super Bowl, he'd won it three times as a starting quarterback. (How does that stack up against your pre-30 résumé?)
But here's what Tom had to say about his success:
Tom Brady: "Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there's something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say 'Hey man, this is what it is! I reached my goal, my dream.' Me, I think…God, it's gotta be more than this."
60 Minutes reporter: "What's the answer?"
Tom Brady: "I wish I knew. I wish I knew."
Tom Brady is now 40 years old. He's about to play in his eighth Super Bowl in just a few days. (He's won five by now.) In Super Bowl terms, he's the greatest quarterback of all time. But, after living at the mountaintop of human success for so long, we're betting that Tom knows better than most that no amount of success in this life can satisfy.
Why? How can that be true?
Psalm 63 says "O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you…My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food" (Ps 63:1,5). The assumption behind the psalm is obvious: God is what satisfies. God is what fulfills. God is what we're looking for. God is the one who meets our deepest desires. God is the only one powerful enough to meet our overpowering need for significance.
Most of us were told when we were young to "follow our heart" and "chase our dreams." But we weren't warned that our dreams couldn't satisfy.
Most of us weren't taught the open-handed approach to life of Romans 14:8. Most of us weren't taught that God is the treasure of life (Matthew 13:44-46). Most of us weren't taught that ultimate freedom and glory is available to us right now in the Person of Jesus Christ, for free (2 Corinthians 4:6).
But it's not too late to learn those things. And if you do, we believe that you'll have the answer that Tom Brady wishes he had…that God is ultimate, and the big stage is optional.