Devotional: Significant vs. Insignificant

The greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:11-12)

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FreeImages.com/Adam Ciesielski

The sermon this past Sunday has inspired me again. The sermon was on our significance in God’s plan. I believe strongly that as a Christian Believer we are significant to God but I sometimes struggle with this concept.

I find myself thinking that I am insignificant. I am only a number among over a thousand numbers to my employer; the school system I work for. Yet, I am significant to my principal because I am the only computer teacher at the school.

I am insignificant in the crowd of people at the festival in my hometown. Yet, I am significant when my child’s school needs me to help with the school booth on the fairgrounds or the troop needs an adult leader to cook strawberry kettle cooked popcorn.

Maybe I should take on the attitude of the apostle Paul.

Listen to the way Paul refers to himself in the following verses:

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and singled out for God’s good news — (Romans 1:1 HCSB)

For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles — (Ephesians 3:1 HCSB)

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother: To Philemon our dear friend and coworker, (Philemon 1:1 HCSB)

I appeal to you, instead, on the basis of love. I, Paul, as an elderly man and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus, (Philemon 1:9 HCSB)

Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus: To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons. (Philippians 1:1 HCSB)

Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to build up the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, (Titus 1:1 HCSB)

To someone who didn’t go to Bible College, it might sound like Paul considered himself insignificant when in fact he had one of the biggest impacts on the early church and in shaping Christians today.

In our society today, we don’t view the word “slave” in a good light. To many bad things happened in our countries history that keeps us from thinking that way, but, Paul does. Why?

Paul doesn’t see “slave” as someone legally bound and forced to obey, but someone who willing serves and helps the one he loves. To him, he was a servant of Christ and willingly told others about his Savior. For him, that was his sole purpose in life.

He could have been proud and overbearing and he would’ve had the right to be. He was a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee which meant he was well educated. (Acts 23:6) He was a Roman citizen and had all the rights that came from being one (Acts 16, 22, & 23). Yet, He humbled himself and was able to be bold and able to go wherever he felt the spirit was leading him.

I am insignificant to the world, but I am significant to God. That is more important to me than anything in this world. I believe it was the same for Paul, too.

Lord, I praise you because I am important to you. You know my name. You know how many hairs are on my head. Help me to focus on your will. Help me to keep my eyes on Jesus. Thank you.

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5 Reasons to Wear Symbols of Christ

This past week someone complemented me on something I wear all the time. I wear it for a reason, but this person didn’t know that. They just like what they saw. It made me wonder, what do people wear and why?

Here is a list of reasons I came up with:

  1. Because they just like it.
  2. It has a personal meaning to them.
  3. It reminds them of something.
  4. It represents something.
  5. It represents who they are.

Here is examples of what I’m talking about:

  1. I like pink, so most of my shirts are some shade of pink.
  2. Some people wear necklaces with a cross pendent because it means they are a believer in Christ Jesus.
  3. Some people will wear a pink ribbon because it reminds them of a loves one who have fought the fight against breast cancer.
  4. Some people have favorite sporting events and will wear the colors of their favorite team.
  5. Some people will dress professional every waking minute, whither they like it or not, because that’s what they are.

In the bible, when God talked to the Israelites about his law he told them to:

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:7-9.

Of course, when Jesus came He changed things for us. No longer do we just have God’s word for guidance, but we can have His Holy Sprite living in us too. Personally, I like having the options I have on this side of the cross than on the other side. Though we don’t have to “tie them as symbols” on our hands or “bind them” on our foreheads we can still show other’s that we are not ashamed of being a child of God.

Do you wear something that is representative of a child of God? Do you have art work or something that tells guest who entering your home that you are a follower of Christ?

WWJD?

I have always believed that there was no way I could teach my two boys to be men. I just can’t do it. It is genetically impossible. Ever since I read “Bringing Up Boys” by Dr. James Dobson, I have held the belief that it takes a man to teach a boy to be a man. There are just some things that a mother can’t teach her sons. This belief was again confirmed when I read half of the book “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. (One day I will finish it.) A book written mostly for men to help them recover their masculine heart. Sounds funny doesn’t it? But, there is a real issue that there is a lack of men in boys lives to help them become men. I’m talking about real men. A man after God’s heart.

As an author I wanted to understand this a little bit better so I can make my male christian characters more believable. My Sunday school teacher, someone I would consider to be a real man, talked about this idea of a real man to us and is striving to teach the teenagers on his football team. (He is head football coach of our local college.) When I talked to him about it he recommended I read a book called “Season of Life” by Jeffery Marx. I had more fun reading it than I did the other two books. (Seriously, I am going to finish reading “Wild at Heart” someday.)

I was probably half way through the book when it all made perfect sense to me. Yes, I know, men think differently than women and how could I understand it. That’s not what I understood. I understood that there were more things that I could teach my boys than I thought. It all comes down to the perfect example any man or woman could have. I can now tell my boys that I can’t teach them to be men, but I know the one person who can other than their own father. That man is Jesus.

“Season of Life” made me think about Jesus and remember a time when I was a teenager. My youth director pointed out to us a few things about Jesus that I wouldn’t have thought about. He talked about what most pictures of Jesus looked like; long hair, beard, mustache, skinny man. Then he reminded us that Jesus had been a carpenter. He made us think about what it would take for a carpenter to get wood to make furniture or to build a house. There were no machines, no electric saws, nothing but maybe an ax or a saw to take down a tree. I can only emagine what he had to do to get the tree back to his shop. Not only that, but furniture wasn’t made of particle board like it is today. It was solid pieces of wood that would make a table heavy. Do you remember what happened in the temple when Jesus was angry? That’s right. He turned the table over. Not an easy thing if the table was made of thick solid wood. I could never picture Jesus as a skinny man again.

There was more to Jesus than just strength. He was a man who put other’s first. He was never there to take care of his own agenda, but always to help other’s. Ultamatly, his main purpose was to do God’s will. It was God’s will that we all have a relationship with Jesus. Those two things where his cause, his purpose in life. This is why I think thousands of men went to see Jesus and why woman were willing to drag their children along with them to hear him.

So, did this book help me to understand better what a christian man should be like? Yes! Do you have to be a christian to understand how to be a man? No. This book did not go into detail about the bible or about Jesus. Though it touched upon it a few times, I could probably count on one hand the number of times.

One more thing. After reading this, I think I will buy a copy of this book to give to every coach my boys will have. I think I’ll give it to their scout leaders, too. Not that I don’t think they are not men, but that any one would benifite from reading it. They may not read it, but that’s ok.

Is there a man in your life who almost always puts other’s before himself? Is there such a man? If you enjoyed this post leave a comment.