Sometimes it feels like in order for something to matter, it has to be recognized by other people. The more people recognize it, the more important it is. If no one knows, then it seems like maybe it doesn’t matter.
Perhaps this is because when people recognize it they acknowledge our talents and abilities, and praise us for it, and this makes us feel like we matter. And so if no one sees it or recognizes it, we can feel insignificant or unappreciated.
This is particularly true in Christian ministry. It is tempting, when thinking of ways to serve others, to think that our ministry only matters if a lot of people know about it. For this reason, we can find ourselves thinking that because our ministry is small, or secret, or isn’t one of the “official” ones being announced every Sunday morning, then it doesn’t matter. We can compare ourselves to the people who stand out with the more public or flashy ministries, and feel insignificant. The whole Christian celebrity phenomenon doesn’t help this.
There are so many things I’d like to do. So many ways I’d like to help. And often it feels like in order for any of it to make a difference, it has to be an official ministry that is recognized by lots of people. But I think God is asking me, “Amanda, can you just be faithful with the small things? Can you be satisfied knowing that I see you, even if no one else does?”
To have the praise and approval of people is meaningless – and honestly, are any of us humble enough to handle it? But to have the praise and approval of God far outweighs any compliment or pat on the back we can get from people. And here is the thing: He already approves. And nothing we do can change that.
But where are we looking for significance? It’s the age old question, isn’t it? It’s that thing in us that seeks to be significant because of something in us. Just like Eve sought significance apart from God. Just like the people built cities to “make a name for themselves“. There is a thing in us that wants to matter, but we want the credit for it. We want the glory.
How freeing it would be if we stopped striving after things that we already have in Christ. Significance. Worth. Approval. If we would just quit trying to take the credit, and be content to let him have all of it. We would love others so much better – It wouldn’t matter how many read the blog, or come to the study, or compliment the food – we would just be content to serve knowing that we are showing others a tiny glimpse of His great love.
Let’s stop striving, and just live like we are loved. Because we are.
“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
– Zephaniah 3:17