Thursday, November 3, 2011

Doing Great Things For God

When I was growing up, I heard a lot about doing great things for God. In Bible college we were regaled with stories of those alumni who had gone on to be senior pastors in large churches, or youth pastors with large followings, or presidents of Bible colleges. These individuals were held up as the standard. As a teacher and coach in Christian schools, I told my students to dream of doing great things. I dreamed of winning state championships, of having former students and players go on to be leaders. I even dreamed of becoming a college coach and having a huge impact for Christ with my players, all while winning a lot of games.

Fast forward a few years. I now work as a paraprofessional in a middle school and an assistant basketball coach at a local high school. Over the years I have sent out a whole lot of resumes, added to my educational credentials, and done everything else I could to do something great. Nothing panned out. There have been many times when I felt as if I had missed my chance to do great things, to make an impact for God's Kingdom. I would look at others who did what was considered great, and wonder why it wasn't me. I felt let down, by God and by myself. I tried to soothe things by being "humble." You know, the whole "I'm just one of those folks that just tries to serve God any way I can" schtick. I would venture to say that there are a whole lot of Christians who have felt the same way.

Over the past couple of years, through Scripture and the encouragement of my family and close friends, I have come to change my definition of greatness. John Wooden used to tell his teams at UCLA that true greatness consisted of doing the best you can all the time (I know that's a rough paraphrase, but you get the idea). I believe that is also true in our walk with God. The Father does not expect us to "do great things," especially as the world defines greatness. He simply asks us to be faithful to the task he has given us. The funny thing is, that actually is doing great things. As followers of the King, and citizens of his Kingdom, we are involved in what C.S. Lewis called an invasion. We are representatives of a King who is in exile, and we are called to bring his Kingdom to bear in a world that is controlled by our enemy. That makes everything we do as followers of Christ significant. We are part of a great story, the story of the restoration of Creation. Jesus said that even giving a cup of cold water in his name was a great thing. Wow. That really changes a lot of things.

Don't let anyone sell you short. Don't buy the lie that you are insignificant, and the things you do don't matter. You are a child of the Creator of the universe, and God's Spirit lives in you. Your heart has been, and is being transformed. The Father has given you gifts and talents that he wants you to use to bless others. Even if the "only" thing you can do is love others as Jesus has loved you (and that's really pretty doggone huge when you think about it), you are playing a role in the greatest story ever. You are doing great things.

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