Just a few moments ago, my daughter Trinity asked me what the word “significant” means. I asked for some context, but she couldn’t give me any so I just started rattling off definitions – meaningful, important, etc. She had a blank stare at this point because I kinda went on and on about it, so I used it in a sentence – “Air plays a significant role in your ability to remain alive.”
I thought she understood at that point, because there were a few moments of silence. Then she came up with a gem of her own – “It’s like having a butt. Having a butt is significant if you want to sit down.”
Yep. That’s my kid.
She’s mostly right, though. If you want to sit, and you have a butt, you don’t even have to have a chair. It’s just built right in. It doesn’t even matter how big, how small or what shape it is – as long as you have one, you’ll always have a place to sit.
Now, obviously there’s more to significance than having a butt. Significance is something we all search for, and more often than not, never find. We’re doing it wrong, that’s why. Significance doesn’t come from who you are, what you do, the things you own or even who you know.
You can’t find significance on your own. It’s something that’s given to you.
When I was younger, I wanted to do so much with my life. And I had it all figured out. I knew the right people, I had the right education. I was really going to be somebody! I overlooked the fact that I already was somebody, and I had nothing to prove.
When we think we have something to prove, we end up acting like we have something to prove and we all we prove is that we are insecure, alone, scared. I was all of those things and more for most of my life. I didn’t trust anybody, least of all God. I thought he was upset with me because I couldn’t do everything on my own. I thought he wanted me to be strong and succeed then he would love me.
When I was weak and a failure, I was sure he was done with me. My significance was all wrapped up in what I was doing for God – all the good things that pastors do – preaching, praying, studying, visiting people who are sick, counselling, planning events, working with committees. I did all that and a lot more and then I got so hard hearted, so tired, so burned out, that when it was over I was secretly relieved and openly scared to death because if I wasn’t a pastor, who was I?
I was no longer significant. Nobody needed me. I didn’t get the late night calls anymore, I wasn’t asked to be a guest preacher, I wasn’t asked to pray at the school board meetings. I was cut off from the people who had needed all those things from me. I was no longer needed, and it made me feel unwanted.
What I had always told people, and never understood myself is, I am significant to God. He loves me, and his grace gives me significance. I am his and I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, least of all him – because he knows me completely already, and he has already accepted me.
Significance doesn’t come from within you – because of who you are or what you do. Significance doesn’t come from those around you – friends, family, co-workers, church members. Significance can only be given to you from the one who made you, the one who redeemed you, the one who breathed life into you.
It’s not about my job or who I surround myself with or the things I accumulate in this life. It’s about resting in God and being his.
When I figured that out, everything changed. My attitude in general, the way I treated people, my thinking, my work ethic – it all became brand new. I’m not the me that you knew anymore! I’m alive, I’m significant, I’m loved and I’m His!
What makes you feel significant? Or do you feel that way at all? The source of all good things is God, and really all he asks is that you enter into a relationship with him. You bring yourself, and he gladly does everything else. He wants you! Give yourself to him, and he will show you who he created you to be!