Whenever we go through hard times, a “Cinderella"/"rags-to-riches” story gives us hope that we, too, will persevere and overcome. The latest such story is of Ted Williams, a homeless man living in a tent in Columbus, Ohio, who became an online video celebrity when a reporter spotted him panhandling at an interstate ramp and interviewed him for a TV special. On YouTube, he drew 3 million hits: the attention-grabber, his extraordinarily rich baritone voice that is attracting radio and TV “announcer” offers from across America.
Whether it’s Michael Vick, Susan Boyle, the "American Idol," or Ted Williams, it’s the same thing: the thrill of seeing someone beat the odds and find happiness. If it is true that “most men lead lives of quiet desperation” (Thoreau), then it is no wonder they live vicariously: the cry of humanity for meaning and fulfillment. Living the life of another.
Jesus came to earth, became a man, to live and die for us. And in the deepest and truest meaning of the word, His life was lived vicariously: he was living our lives; he was identifying with sinful, desperate men (but without sinning). But here is the other side of vicarious living. Since we "died" and "rose" with Jesus, His life and fullness is ours (Col. 2:9-10). His present ministry from the throne continues as He lives in and through us. Our lives find their deepest meaning in knowing “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). No longer desperate—no longer looking for meaning in this world, we are living our “rags-to-riches” story. We are living vicariously—by the life of Christ.