I would venture that most people seek to satisfy the yearning within that moves us to find our own meaningful purpose in this life. Even if for some that significance is found in a very small measure, still, the motivator to find that particular purpose in life I would argue is innate and universal among humankind. How we set about to discover and operate in our personal significance is too vast a topic for this space, but we do have enough space here to move our thinking in a direction that may get us to our place.
First let’s start with the sad state of society that has fostered what I call ‘unwarranted significance.’ Think about it - a young man who can catch or throw or run a football with extreme skill, thrilling and impressive to the point of bringing an adrenaline rush within the spectators. Compare a soldier who leaves home and family, delays his career, often actually risks his or her life, among many other self sacrifices, for the citizens back home. Then realize that the football player’s wages eclipse the soldiers wages - and we now understand unwarranted significance. Free societies can exercise such inequities, yet it is very revealing.
And then for the rest of us and our search for significance. The internet, social networks, omnipresent media of all types have created a platform for almost everyone to put on their show, vie for their significance. Unfortunately, the definition of significance has become skewed, thereby creating skewed attempts. If it’s not ratings, marketable, loud, outrageous, fueling the buzz, creating enough hits or going viral, amid all kinds of other such measures, then it doesn’t count. Don’t get me wrong, there are significant things that are all the rage, and deservedly so, but there are all kinds of ‘viral’ sensations that are creating significance for all the wrong reasons.
Obviously, on a pastoral blog our core point in finding our significance is finding our place in God’s will and his plan for one’s life. Further, God’s world measures significance very differently, and far more transcendently, than our world. We may find our significance in God’s will in such a way that causes no stir in this world. But heaven sits up and takes notice, and that’s where we want to be noticed.
Jesus tested Peter in John 21, asking Peter if he loved him ‘more than these.’ These - be that the fishing gear and opportunities of that work, or be it the other disciples, Jesus was making Peter evaluate on what he would spend himself, what or whom would be the driving motivators of finding his significance. Don’t misunderstand, God may use us within our current career path to work his will; I’m positive there were many fisherman in the New Testament church that were significantly used of God; but that was their path, and Jesus was showing Peter his path. We should remember that we are serving him with whatever or wherever we are occupied. So we mustn’t sell ourself short, or use faulty scales as does temporal culture.
However, let’s not award some things with an unwarranted significance, and waste ourselves on a ‘great insignificance’ that really doesn’t matter at all.
We are God’s best plan, his only plan, for his work in this world.