Are you important? Do you feel your life has significance? Even at church, when you look up at the altar or stage, or think about the names everyone knows–is that you? Or are you remarkably unknown and unimportant to most of the people around you?
“As Jesus looked up, He saw some rich people putting their gifts into the Temple money box. Then He saw a poor widow putting two small copper coins into the box. He said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow gave more than all those rich people. They gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had to live on.'” (Luke 21:1-4 NCV)
God calculates importance so very differently than we do. We tend to admire the rich–those who donate millions to construct a hospital or drill wells in Africa–and where would we be if those who had more didn’t share with those less fortunate! Yet as beneficial to humanity as these acts of generosity are, God assesses us differently.
The Bible tells us that “…God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the LORD sees into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 CEB) That is why the widow’s last two coins were more valuable in God’s eyes than the excess wealth of the rich; her donation, though monetarily far less, took greater spiritual strength–she had to trust that God would not let her starve if she gave up her last. And this is not just about giving–it is about what is valuable and important to God; about what makes for true significance in His kingdom–about the fact that He appraises our behavior, and ultimately lives, differently than people do.
Sometimes we imagine that the important people in God’s kingdom are those who are particularly visible in the local church–the pastor, worship leader, organist, band members, soloists, elders, deacons, teachers, etc., And these are certainly roles that need to be filled–how else would our local churches function as they do? Or we think it’s the people who write books and speak at conferences, the professors at seminaries, and the famous Christian artists–and these too are individuals God uses to teach and encourage His church.
Yet it is entirely possible to be busy serving the local church, or even famous, but be lukewarm, distant, maybe even privately defiant, towards Christ. The many very public–and other not quite so public–examples of various church leaders’ “falls from grace” illustrate this well. Being capable of preaching a good sermon doesn’t preclude you from temptation; being well known and well spoken of in the church doesn’t make you infallible–if anything, it increases the temptation to be prideful, or to begin to believe you can allow yourself “perks” that are wicked, and which cause great shame on discovery.
No, God looks inside of us, at what is really going on in our hearts–at our humility or pride; our love or lack of it; the degree we sacrificed to do what we did; whether it was done for show to bring acclaim to myself, or genuinely for Him; whether we did the right thing even though we knew no one else will ever know.
God cares that the people we are inside respond to the situations in our lives just as Jesus would—and this we should be doing more and more because we have Christ’s Spirit in us!
God cares that we love Him from the bottom of our hearts–that He be most important to us in every area of our life–regardless of who we are. And while He does call each of us to serve Him in His church in different capacities, and some ministries seem more prestigious to us than others, I don’t believe that’s how God is going to evaluate us. I don’t believe He will reward you more if you were on stage being a worship leader than if you came in faithfully every week on your time off to upkeep the facilities. You see, Jesus gives us our different spiritual gifts, so, for example, He won’t judge us for not being a teacher if He didn’t give us that gift. What He will look at is whether we sacrificed for Him; whether we loved Him enough to do the really hard things in life.
We might be surprised in eternity. The people with the most glory might not be the ones we expect–and they might not be the ones who got the most glory in this life. It may be the man who faithfully and lovingly cared for his dying wife rather than unload her on someone else, or the doctor who practices medicine in remote African communities, or the couple who take in unwanted children and raise them as their own. It might be the pastor who chose to forego a lucrative secular career in order to make a fraction of that teaching the Word, or the family that shared their little with another family that had even less.
So, are you important? Does your life have significance? It does, if you are “blooming where God planted you;” if you are serving Him as faithfully with the particular resources He has given you as you possibly can; if you love Him above everything and are taking every opportunity to do your best to share the knowledge of Him with others and bring glory to His holy and mighty name; if He is your everything! Remember, God doesn’t look at things like humans do, but sees into the heart. Be significant–make your life count in His eyes!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You that You don’t look at me like other people do; that the thing You value is what my heart is like, and what my life looks like as a result of that. Help my heart be right with You always, and help me serve You as fully and as well as I am capable of, with what You allowed in my life! Amen.