I’m pretty sure everyone’s seen it, except me. Until last night, I had only caught bits and fragments of the movie Good Will Hunting starring a young Matt Damon and a bearded Robin Williams. I can understand why many consider it to be a great movie.
Will Hunting is a genius. But he’s not in school. He is a janitor at school. And not just any school, MIT. Though misdirected, troubled, and aimless, he has a loyal group of friends. He has a mind that baffles the estute mathematics Professor Lambeau, but he’s not putting his mind to any use, and it seems to bother others more than it does him. When Will is faced with jail time, the Professor makes a way for him to stay out of the pen by regular math practices and visits with a counselor. An interesting conflict in the movie is between Professor Lambeau and Robin William’s character, Sean, who is the only Counselor able to connect with Will.
It is as though Will is avoiding his destiny. Throughout the movie, his mind is frequently being compared to the stature of Albert Einstein, yet we see him living far below his potential. He lives a rough life, fighting, breaking the law, and cleaning empty classroom halls. Will blows off the Professor’s attempts at job opportunities. He even manipulates the only man who is able to get through to him, Sean.
There’s a point in the movie where Will is working contruction alongside his friend, Chuckie, and they’re on break. Will says something about 30 years into their future, still working construction and coming over to each others house to watch the game and such. His friend says, “If you’re still here in 30 years, I’ll kill you.” This is because Chuckie recognizes the fact that Will is 1 in a billion. That he has a gift that others would LOVE to have. And although Will seems to think he owes it to his friends to cover up his gift, Chuckie assures Will that he owes it to his friends to develop his mind to meet his full potential.
This part struck me so much because I believe that with knowledge comes responsibility. Like Jesus said, to whom much is given, much is required. Even when we look at the parable of the talents, it would seem as if God wants us to use the gifts he’s given us in a way that will best produce fruit. Will was the guy who takes his talent and buries it. But when he encountered someone who believed in him as a whole person, and not just a great mind, he was released to become the guy who uses his talents to make a lot more.
But the other part that struck me was Will learning what is valuable. Just like when Sean tells of the first time he saw the girl who later became his wife. He had tickets to a historical Red Sox World Series game, and blew off the game to spend time with the girl. To everyone else, Red Sox fans especially, Sean’s decision to blow-off the game in order to pursue the girl would seem foolish. I mean, couldn’t he just get her number and call after the game sometime? Yes, but there is beauty in recognizing worth.
We see Will begin to see this beauty when at the end of the movie, he leaves the job that Professor Lambeau helped him get, in order to cross the country to be with the girl he loves. Agree or disagree on his choice, the irrefutable point is that Will saw the options and chose the one that he knew to be most valuable. Although his decision may seem baffling, to leave a great job after growing up in the wrong side of town and being a janitor, he chose what he knew in his heart to be most important. Surely the Professor and his bosses would consider him foolish, maybe even his friends, but he knew what he wanted and he went after it.
This has Gospel written all over it. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” When the man sees the value, the immeasurable riches of the treasure, he looks at everything else he owns as garage sale material. He forsakes it all with JOY, because he knows the treasure that he has found. This is one aspect of the kingdom of heaven. When we as sinners see the beauty of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, and the beauty of the life he has called us to live, everything else seems second rate.
So that’s what I saw, and I’m pensive. With all that I’ve been exposed to this year, all that I’ve been blessed to see and experience, what am I now required to do? And how many times do really treat the kingdom of heaven like a treasure?
Lord, lead us in the way to develop our gifts and abilities. To multiply our talents. To produce fruit. We trust You to work.
Lord, show us again what a treasure it is to know You. Show us again what a joy it is to leave everything and follow You.