Saturday, January 19, 2008


Jim Martins post about whether his work really mattered or not really got me to thinking.

The problem with significance, is that it's all about you.

When Jesus fed the five thousand, the little boy with the loaves and fishes probably felt awestruck at what Jesus did with his lunch. But, as the crowd focused on receiving the food, Jesus focused on His breaking of the food, and the disciples focused on passing out the food, I imagine a little boy in a sea of people, being handed pieces of his own lunch to eat, probably didn't feel very significant. And what sense he did have of being a small part of a big picture was probably dampened somewhat by the fact that all these people were eating his lunch but they didn't know it.

Even so, standing there, watching Jesus work, I can't help but think that the little boy did not really feel like he'd done something significant. The disciples didn't even seem to ask his name before they asked him for his lunch. And though John at least gave the boy a hat tip, Matthew didn't even bother to mention that a kid was involved at all.

And as the crowd unknowingly ate his food, no one knowing his name or his very special story...I bet he never would have imagined that one day he'd be be identified as "a boy", and included in the best selling book of all time.

That's another problem with significance. It takes a long time to mature into something noticeable.

I want what I do to matter, of course, I want to know that what I did counted for something, that it wasn't a waste of time, money, energy, or creative thinking. But, when you think about it, the hope of being significant is just simply a burden. I don't know that I'd ever be able to stop wishing for it, but if I did accept that every single thing I do is insignificant... what a load off that would be. It doesn't mean you stop doing what you're doing. It just means you accept that you're human, Christian, but human, and the only thing that brings significance to what you do is when Christ picks it up and uses it. Significance doesn't begin with us. We just go along doing our insignificant things waiting until Jesus steps in and does something significant with it.

And that's the third problem with significance. It puts more responsibility on you and less on God.

If that little boy had thought that his lunch would need to be a significant contribution to help even a few people, in an effort to be make a significant difference, I bet he would have packed more food.
I know I would have.
If I even think that a specific day is an opportunity to do something significant, I practice for it, take more care with what I say to those I meet, make sure I bring a little more cash, or have extra of what ever it is I'm bringing, or make sure the house is clean. I'll want to be prepared when someone calls on me to do something significant.
That's part of why God had Gideon keep whittling down his army until there would be no way they could legitimately claim the victory was done in their own power. He wanted to show that He was the significant victor, not the people.

It's quite a heavy load, a burdensome responsibility, to attempt to be significant. It's a load that I might could lay down, but it means simply trusting that only God can do something significant with my insignificant amounts of time/talent/ability/faith.

Maybe, the only thing that makes us truly significant is that we're willing to give our lunch away.

Or maybe, if we truly desire to be significant, we should embrace our insignificance with passion and excitement never knowing what God is making significant, or when significance might blossom from long ago deeds.

Over the last year, a song writer has befriended my parents. And since my mom is a singer, he asked her if he could record her singing his songs to send off to some label that he's talked to that is willing to use them.
Ultimately, if everything works out for him, my mothers beautiful voice will be heard over the radio... in Poland. From here in the United States, it feels far, and distant, and insignificant. She'll never drive herself somewhere and suddenly hear herself on the radio. But, some guy in Poland may one day be driving around in his goofy looking car, listening to the radio and, touched by the words this songwriter penned, God may very well do something eternity changingly (yeah, I know it's not a word) significant for that one man. And for a song to travel from one mans mind here in Texas, all the way to Poland to change one life... well, that's pretty significant.

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