Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What is Significance?

Our lives are controlled by how we think, and much of what we think comes most naturally from what we want, based on images we have embraced about what is good. By nature, we want a useful place in society.

We seek significance.

Our instinct is to focus on "What can I be known for?" Hollywood, Disney, and our culture in general push us down the path of pursuing our individual, unique "hopes, dreams, and plans."

But as followers of Jesus, we are to trust His life and example as God's choice for how we should think. 

In His mindset, how should we respond to our urge for a place of significance? Are we to just embrace the "wisdom" of this world?

How does Jesus define significance? 

When we look at his life, we see him embracing the mundanity of daily life. He prepared for 30 years before being propelled onto the scene of recorded history. The Bible tells us he grew and became strong in wisdom in those thirty years.

We don't like the process of nitty-gritty, moment-by-moment development of character.

It goes against every fiber of our being. By nature, we resist the mundane, the shadowlands of quiet, the seemingly insignificant choice-upon-choice to serve our family, our friends, our co-workers. We resist spending our free time studying the message of Jesus and ourselves in the light of it. We'd prefer to be off "accomplishing" some "meaningful deed"...following our dreams, hopes, and plans...but that's all a figment of our imagination.

If we could only learn it sooner rather than later! Because once we trust Jesus on this, our whole life opens up and becomes far more meaningful than we could ever have imagined!

Jesus found His significance solely in his relationship with God. He did not pursue the natural urges to build a name for himself, to find significance for himself. He chose to die to all those natural urges, and he sought to be the kind of person God wanted.

I often forget that our savior was "perfected through suffering." I've lived in such comfort and ease, with so little persecution for my faith. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking if I follow Jesus, my life will be nothing but good--in the limited and flawed human terms for "good."

May we all come to our Maker with this prayer:

God, you know better than I what I should contribute to the world, if anything...in fact, the example of Jesus teaches me that this is not even the right question to be asking. And so, I will remain faithful in the duties and responsibilities of my daily life. I will develop the natural abilities you have given me with as much diligence as I know how, and I will keep allowing you to build my character, as you see fit, into the image of your Son. My significance comes from pleasing You. Amen.