We all know important people, and we all know people who think they are important. Where I work, every single day, the same person parks their red Mercedes in the same parking spot right by the door. Backwards. I even got there super early one day to see if I could get that spot. I was going to park my 1998 F-150 in the spot right by the door. Backward. Just to see what would happen. I got to work at 7 am – an hour early – and that stinking car was already there. I’m beginning to think it is not owned by anybody, it’s just parked there so nobody can have the spot. Either that, or it belongs to a Very Important Person. After all, it’s a Mercedes.
We all know important people, and we all know people who think they are Very Important People. What I’ve noticed about the VIPs is they are generally insecure. You can tell because of all the bragging. I know them when I see them because I used to be one.
I used to tell people, who never asked, how many kids I had at church on Wednesday night. I used to tell, without being asked, how awesome I did when I preached last Sunday morning, and how many people came forward. I still know the stats – how many I’ve led to Christ, how many I’ve baptized, etc.
None of those numbers are bad – they represent people who have met God and whose lives have been changed by that encounter. They represent God working through me in an awesome way. But I didn’t feel awesome about it for some reason. I felt like if I told everyone they would see how important I was and how much God was using me. I was insecure in my relationship with God.
That’s pretty much what it comes down to, isn’t it? Our own individual relationship with God. I’ve moved away from the idea that God wants to use me, or that I can be used by God. I’ve moved away from the idea (and it was very difficult) that to be a minister I need to work for a church – even though I am convinced that that is still my calling. I’ve moved away from the idea that my identity has to be wrapped up in what I do. I’ve moved away from that, and I’ve drawn close to God.
James 4:8 says this – “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
I always got the first part – makes sense, right? Draw near to God. I always ignored the part about sinners and being double minded. That’s just as important as drawing near. Drawing near is all I can do. I can’t cleanse my own sin, and I can’t change my own mind.
What I have found is, if I draw near, under my own power, if I read the Scriptures, if I write my sermons, if I baptize people, but if I still have sin in my life, I become double minded. I begin to think how great I am. And when I become great, I want the world to know just how great and how Very Important I am.
But – when I draw near to God, for real, when I come to Him a mess, dirty, confused, and when I come to Him honest about it, He cleanses my hands, He straightens out my mind. In other words (James 4:10) when I humble myself in His presence, He lifts me up.
A wise man once said, you can no more change yourself than you can put your hands under your own feet and lift yourself off the ground. You can’t make yourself important, you can’t make yourself great. Greatness is this life is not who you are, not what you have, not who you know, but what you allow God to do in you. What He does in you affects the lives of those around you. By pursuing a relationship with God, you change the world!
Only God can lift you up. Only God can make you a Very Important Person. Draw near to Him, allow Him to make you into who He always dreamed you could be!