My family and I have been in a bit of a transition lately-- well the last two years. In the process of moving to a new town, starting a new job, attending a new church, trying to meet new neighbors, sitting in stop-and-go traffic, avoiding bigger malls, missing the ocean and hoping to hear His voice, I have noticed something important about life-- my life anyway-- and possibly yours. The word that best describes the missing puzzle piece is significance, and what that means in daily life.
In the search for significance and meaning in this world, I have been taught that it comes from Jesus. God loves ME, and therefore; I am significant. That is good news. But just as one contemplates their eternal home, there is a bit of a disconnect because we are not there yet. As precious as the thought of Heaven is, we still have to live out our days on earth; amidst evil, all while our earthly body deteriorates.
What is it that makes life worth life living anyway? The well trained Christian says, "Jesus," or "salvation." What is it that makes you and me get out of bed, or wish we could stay in a few more hours? The life that surrounds us is the answer. For most humans, we are responding to basic needs, or avoiding uncomfortable situations. Whether we think of life in spiritual terms or earthly terms, there is a motivation of lack of it, that we tap into as we head out into another day.
Yesterday I was thinking about some of the amazing things that I have seen God do -- supernatural "doings." I am contemplating a book-- sort of my own gospel of miracles and happenings that involve Jesus-- yes, and me. (You can read some of them on this blog.) Being used by God is one way to find significance in the Kingdom. It is an interesting balance of Heaven and earth as we go through our day-to-day routine as children of the Most High-- thoughts aimed at eternal bliss-- as soon as we get out this traffic jam! And then suddenly, God is at work through prayer, through circumstances, through the brethren; displaying His glory and power. These moments where Heaven touches earth are very exciting, and occasionally unnerving. It is awe inspiring to watch people healed, or saved at an alter. The supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit should be the reality of every Christian.
Beyond all the anointing and power, we still live in a fleshly body unable to handle much of God's glory, yet at times, completely desiring it. Moses with his head in the cleft of the rock, the priests not at all able to stand before the altar and John caught up in the spirit on the Lord's day; amazingly wonderful moments described in detail within the pages of the Bible.
Thinking about those passages, and moments we may have had that were similar -- remembering those types of experiences are refreshing. If we could just touch God like that now, right now, how would our life change?
Back here in reality, we are broken people searching for significance-- searching for the real and living Jesus. We have been taught many things, but why do we still fail? Why can't we confess our sins one to another? If we are honest, we know that it can't just be "me and Jesus" until we are caught up with Him at the last trumpet. We are meant to be part of the body of Christ. In life and in church we will encounter God's people (His creation), you know the imperfect ones, the broken, the sick and the lame. Yet, that is God's design for us here on earth, to live in a place where the Kingdom is at hand-amidst the fallen.
Paul often talks about the body of Christ as the vehicle of the church to do the will of God here on earth. He pontificates in epistle after epistle about how we individuals in the body should complement each other for the work of God, think on godly themes and love and sacrifice for one another.
With all that is written, taught and understood by Christians, true significance comes in being loved by God, and being made whole in the process of sanctification. As we the church, limp with addictions to drugs, booze, pornography, sex, power, position, approval and shame, how is it that we will ever feel significant?
Think about it, what in your life were you deprived of that made you feel ashamed, "less then" and insignificant? Why is it that we don't understand the need to be "fathered"? Who is it in your life that never said, "I am proud of you?"
Even church leadership can be off at times. I call it the "church cop" syndrome (sin police). You never hear from "us" until you've done something wrong and now we've pulled you over. Sure, we encouraged you to exercise your gifts, and like BTK, you showed up weekly, and even served us, but you made a mistake and now we are going to come down on you; shut you off, kick you out, discipline you... My first question is this, "how come you weren't walking with this person in the first place?" My second one is this, "how come you never got to really know this person, know their story, know their thoughts, their family, and their desires?"
I can only tell you what I have experienced. Men and woman that are accountable to others, and given the opportunity to grow by another, in particular leaders, they are the ones that feel significant, feel secure and feel loved. I have another question, why don't our programs and sermons aim for this? Sure, there are times when we are meant to stand on our own and Jesus is the only One that can save us. And I am well aware that when we let others "go for it" we open the door to personal pride and elitism. Let me challenge you, there are many more times when the body needs to reach out (you personally), stop being too busy and make a phone call, give a hug, write a check, show someone else how to do it and listen to the story of another fellow sinner saved by grace. This interaction in the name of Jesus could be all it takes to change the world around us. That is the art of giving the gift of significance.