In case you missed yesterday’s unstructured post or any other Who Am I? post, here is the link to the table of contents: Who Am I? Table of Contents.
I will be honest before I start in on this post. I do not like the title. At least, not at face value I do not. Mostly because it makes it seem like I will either be trying to puff up those who degrade themselves all the time, or I will be feeding those already puffing themselves up. That is not my intent in discussing our significance in Christ. We are not significant really because if you think about it God does not need you or me to fulfill his plan. He did not need to create, but he did. He did not need to redeem his people, but he did. He does not need us to fulfill some empty hole in his heart.
So, what do I mean by we are significant? Really, what I mean is that we are both significant in God’s eyes (but not in the way the world views significance) and in the lives of the body of Christ, the Church.
1 Corinthians 3:9 (ESV)
9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
What does this verse have to do with significance? Well, like I already said, God does not need us to fulfill his will. However, in his glorious grace and according to the counsel of his will he has chosen to use us, his Church, as a means to accomplish his will on Earth. That means that each of us in Christ has a very significant part in his plan.
Perhaps it would be helpful to address where our significance is not found. First, it is not found in other people. If you were to read 1 Corinthians Chapter 1-3 you would find that that was what the Corinthian Church was doing. They were saying, “I follow Apollos because he baptized me!” or “I follow Peter!” or “I follow Paul!” and the list could be endless. They were placing their identity in other people instead of solely Christ who died on their behalf. If you look around you in the world that is exactly what people still do. They say, “I follow So and So because he is a great leader!” or “She has a great personality, I want to follow after her and imitate her!” Now, it is not bad to want to imitate someone, but if that is where you are trying to form your identity around…. That is not good.
Second, our significance is not found in our work. As I have said, and I will say again and again until I die, God does not need us to accomplish what he wills to be done. He has chosen though, to use us as his instruments. God operates through the Church in many ways to accomplish whatever he has planned. But, that does not mean that our significance should be found in our work. If God is not in your work, for example, nothing will grow from that work. “So neither he who plants or he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor. 3:7). We must be careful how we build on the Foundation, that is Christ, which he has laid for us. If we place our work on the foundation of gaining praise from others, or for monetary gain, or whatever else we will be just like the fool who built his house on the sand…. Only working to glorify Christ in selfless service by loving Him and loving others will give our work significance. When we do Kingdom work, then our work has significance, not when we work for ourselves.
I could continue on and on about where our significance is not. It is not in our abilities, skills, intellect, race, gender, age, and so on. So, where is our significance? As I have already alluded to, it is in Christ and working for his Kingdom. That requires us to be good stewards of what God has given us. Surely God has given us things to do (work), or money to use, or skills to sharpen, abilities to bless others, and so on. All of these things must be stewarded well.
A while back I posted about how God has not distributed gifts evenly among the people of his body. Not everyone has been gifted with what I am gifted in. I am certainly not gifted with the things you are gifted in. We might have overlaps, but the point is that in order to accomplish God’s will we are all needed to chip in. God has chosen us as his instruments to accomplish the work he wants done. We don’t have all the tools in and of ourselves to do so. We are significant to each other in that we are needed to accomplish work that the body of Christ could not do if it lacked a people who could preach well. Imagine a body of believers without a biblical pastor….. yuck! Imagine a body of believers without people who have the spiritual gift of wisdom…. and so on it would go.
There are no insignificant children of God. Sometimes we struggle to see the lasting effect of our significance in the lives of others or in God’s Kingdom work, but that should not stop us from doing good work.
Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
We are significant, not in the fact that God needs us, but that he has purchased us as his children by sending his Son to die on the cross for us. He created us for good works in Christ. We are his workmanship, which means we have a use and are significant both to God and to fellow believers.