27 03 2013

 One lesson I’ve been learning – the hard way – is who I am. The world says that my significance is based on my looks, age, health, bank account, possessions, and productivity.

I went on my first mission trip with these values in place. It didn’t go very well.

The first thing I realized was that even if I worked five jobs and gave every penny I earned to the folks we went to serve, it would make little improvement in their standard of living.

As a musician, I had “nothing” to offer in the way of changing their lives. Sure, I could make their wait a little brighter by playing my guitar and singing, but my songs were in English – which few of them understood. The songs, carefully chosen for their content, would not have much of an impact.

The medical team I went with had all their bases covered, and didn’t need my very limited medical skills.

When I went, I had a specific title role to fulfill. I “knew” why I was there, and would complete my assignment flawlessly. As a result, I would return home “successful” and all would be good.

There was one little problem. When I arrived, there was another person who’d also gone with a specific title – the same one I’d claimed for myself. One person in that position was enough, two was an overkill. The other person was more experienced, so I was given a new title.

Although I accomplished all that was appointed to me, it felt wrong – like I had failed. I spent most of every day quoting Psalm 91 back to the Lord through tears. I was thousands of miles from home, and couldn’t very well jump on a bus and go back home where I would feel safe again.

It took several months for me to realize what took place during that trip. Once Jesus showed me the issue at hand, everything changed.

Here’s what He revealed:

When I went on that trip, my title was my identity. I loved my ministry and served my God. When “my” ministry was given to someone else, I was hurt, lost, and confused. I had no clue as to who I was, and I had an identity crisis.

I’m so thankful for that trip. Jesus used it to separate who I am from what I do. Today, I’m a human “being” – not a human “doing,” thanks to this hard-won lesson.

This year I had a similar experience. There were several things I went prepared to accomplish. Due to one thing and another, I was unable to do any of it.

When I got home, I thought to myself, Wow! That was weird. Well, Lord, it’s Your money. If you want to spend it so people get hugged, that’s your business.

It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that I realized I had been given an opportunity to re-test. Although I’d been a little confused about why I went, since I hadn’t made any “significant” contribution, I was still okay. There was no melt-down, no struggle over my identity.

You see, we are significant because we are the blood-bought children of the Lord Most High. We have been chosen, accepted, adopted, redeemed, justified, sanctified, glorified, and seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. We show our gratitude to Him for all He’s done for us by serving others – whenever and wherever He invites us to join Him. Because we know Him and love Him, we are anxious for others to know Him, too. That’s why we tell others about Him every chance we get!

One verse that helps me to keep this in mind is Galatians 1:10. It reads, “Do I now persuade men? Or do I seek to please men, or God? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” He’s the only One I need to please every day, and in every situation. There’s a lot of freedom in that truth right there!

We are significant – not because of what we do – but because of Whose we are.




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