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Do you want to be somebody significant?

February 3, 2010

Luke 5:27-32:  After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Early this morning I led a church service and my brief message was around how Jesus is interested in the poor and the destitute, and therefore so should we be.  As I drove to work after the service God got me thinking. I was thinking about how so many people, including me, are seeking significance.  We want to be something and someone. We want to look good, have an amazing job or meaningful occupation, be a brilliant parent or friend, and be respected by those around us.  And I am no different.  God is working on me.  I want to be significant and important, to have a meaningful life full of rewards and interesting experiences.

And then I arrive at work, and open the Bible to Luke 5:27-32 and I am immediately challenged.  My desire to be significant and important is actually a desire to be righteous and healthy.  And yet I read here that Jesus is seeking after me, calling me not because I am righteous, significant or important, but because I am a sinner.   I want to succeed, to live a significant life, but I realise now that my motivation is more about me and my needs rather than God’s needs.    If I am brutally honest, I am pursuing my own goals in life way too much.

So what am I to do?

Jesus approaches Levi, the tax collector, someone hated in his community.  His job was to take money off people, and many of the tax collectors could be particularly cruel in how they went about this.  No one liked a tax collector.  And who does Jesus spend time with?  The one person the community hated.  It was possible that even by associating with Levi, Jesus’ reputation could have been damaged.  But Jesus didn’t care, He went to this sinful man and said something quite amazing: “Follow me,”. In the greek ‘follow’ means to imitate.  So Jesus was saying, Levi, come with me and be like me.  And Jesus is saying to me, come with me and be like me.

So I can seek significance, be someone special, but only through being like Jesus. Wow. Be thinking about that one for quite a while.. wow.

God bless,

Mark

PS – I am having an unplugged day tomorrow so no internet at all!

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for next two days is:  Job Chapters 9-10 and Isaiah Chapters 23-28

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45 Comments
  1. Great post Mark.

    I’ve been exploring this very thing with my coach lately. We’re working on moving from ‘Success to Significance’ – you post is very encouraging and very timely.

    Thanks, David

  2. katherine permalink

    wow! you’re right! thanks for this! =)

  3. Wendy Ketner permalink

    Completely and totally awesome reflection!!!!!

  4. randee permalink

    Wow, if you only knew how significant that was to me right now.
    Great point.

  5. what wonderful and joyous messages you send. May God bless you and keep on keeping on.

  6. Leanne permalink

    There is a saying that goes:

    SUCCESS is when you add value to yourself
    SIGNIFICANCE is when you add value to others.

    SO keep being interested in the poor and destitute as Jesus was, for then you shall become truly significant!

    God bless,
    Leanne

  7. Mark teach us more of GOD’S word.

  8. Thank7.i hv bn thinking only of what i wanna be bt nt what jesus wants me to be.i hv bo inspired by ur msg.

  9. Julie permalink

    Thank you for this. I believe this is exactly what I needed. May God bless you abundantly.

  10. Pam permalink

    Oh my thank you for this…I have always found myself in the company of people that other Christians would not even talk to, but I find that if you deal with the unlovely or the unliked you tend to win their admiration, they don’t admire you for what you have done…they admire your stance and your courage to take the time out with a drug dealer, or a prostitute and just let them know that you are concerned and are there for them if they are in need. You then have the opportunity once you develop a relationship with them to let them know that Jesus loves them…thus the seed is planted and begins to take root and before you know it…you see them in your church giving their lives totally over to Christ and then going out and imitating Christ bringing in new disciples for Christ…awesome!

  11. natasha permalink

    Good morning, i will like to say thanks. God is so awesome and great, i want to thank him. I have been in this temporary job and the time is about to expire and i am like God what next i want to accomplish so much just as your passage said and i was only thinking about it and not praying about the situation. and last night i really got down on my knees and cried out to o him and this morning he used you to give me the answer. our God is so real I had to read it twice. Thank you jesus

  12. sven permalink

    tanx man, i was kinda wondering about my life right now. i changed work place. in doin that a few bills couldnt get paid. i work at a restaraunt now. n i asked my self, if i am significant, respected…. i have a girlfriend, she lives in a city 5 hours away. n i want to give her place to live, to b with a man, that can maintane the relationship. im a new beliver, 1 1/2 years ago, i gave my life to christ. n i want to marry this woderfull woman.wat u posted, has help. i like to hear from u.

  13. Jackie permalink

    Rev Mark,
    I too sought the same thing to be significant for Christ, but I guess for my own adoration. Read my BIble daily just could not get enough of the Word, I taught and encouraged others yet now I look back at me and I see I was a Pharisee. Then……. my husband got sick and has since passed and ALL the wind was knocked from my sails and I just can not seem to recoup. I don’t think I am mad at God, at least I don’t feel mad, I kinda feel as if I just exist. Not seeking significance, nor admiration or adoration or any attention at all. I guess you can say I have lost my first love. I was at the place where I had dreams and saw visions, I understood how David felt when he wrote in Psalm “as the deer pants after the waterbrook, so my heart pants after You, Lord” (not verbatem) Thank you for your prayers cause I really want to get my desire back.

  14. Isarah Decker permalink

    Can anyone else say, RIGHT ON!! I just started reading “Imitation of Christ” and it’s like, yes I get it. The words of the Bible are truely starting to come to life for me now. Words that used to be just words now have deep life and meaning. Thanks to this blog for being a part of what has help my journey become my passion. The Lord truely is moving in this ministry and I am SO greatful to be on board. THANK YOU JESUS!!

  15. tammy permalink

    thank you so much for putting this in words. This is one part of my life in which I struggle, I always think I need to do more and more. Sadly it is for me and my happiness.

    Thanks for putting it in the words I understand today

    peace
    tammy

  16. Davitta permalink

    Ouch! This is the very thing that I am dealing with at this very moment! I’m sure God’s work is going undone, due to my me!
    Wow, is right Brother Mark, Woe is it as well…

  17. Sharon Tovar-Davis permalink

    Great word today. Thank you for all you do.

  18. Thank you so much Bro. The Lord spoke to me through this devotional today. I also have been seeking my own desires and goals and claiming them to be in the name of the Lord. The Lord revealed to me that this was not so. Thanks Bro. for being obedient and allowing the Lord to speak to me through you. My prayer is that His goals and desires will become my goals and desires, and that His thoughts will become my thoughts, and my heart will be like His. I too will seek to be like Him. God bless.
    pastor p

  19. Thank you so much for that. I think many of us can relate. And thanks for the Facebook fan page, too.

  20. Yakie favour permalink

    All my life i have been hated by People i love so much, right now in my marriage all my in-laws hates me and i am so confuse this is the seventh yr now. Pls can someone bring Jesus to love me, just the way He love the Levi d Tax collector.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Dear Yakie, Jesus already loves you just the way He loved Levi the tax collector. All you need to do is follow Jesus, just as Levi did. That will probably displease some of those around you as that is what many Christians experience. Spend time alone with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to pray and feel the love of God. You are being challenged in your circumstances. Great love can grow from this situation. God be with you always.

    • Ragine permalink

      I know exactly how you feel. I felt that way too until one day I read this book called “Grace Walk” by Steve McVey. It changed my life and everything I had heard about Jesus finally clicked. I still have a day when I get upset or feel unloved by others, but I know Jesus loves me and chose me. That is the most important thing of all.

  21. Kelly permalink

    Wow, that was quite a post. It definitely challenged me to rethink my motivations and my actions. This one will take some time to work through. 🙂 I’m thankful for God’s patience and willingness to work through my sinful nature with me rather than write me off as a lost cause. 🙂

  22. elodie M. permalink

    i feel God is talkin to me this morning, telling me to renew my mind and i bless Him. Although iam a sinner, He loves me and i can imitate him in his righteousness. I love Jesus and its high time i understand the significance of these words: I think we are not to judge our brothers who are sinners or seem to be less fervent than us, but we are to imitate the Christ by telling them : Follow me or follow the Christ in me. I thank God for this wonderful mail and remain blessed Rev for sharing the good news across the world. Thanks also to sister Pam OP (i do not know her) but her mails are so encouraging and they always bring me some peace. Shalom

  23. TomInDallas permalink

    Mark,

    Everything you share is such a feeding for us. But the best thing I read from you this morning is that you are going to unplug your internet tomorrow. God has pointed out to me in the last year that it’s time I learned how to ‘love myself’ according to His direction in order to be able to ‘love my neighbor’ at the depth He wants me to do so. And ‘love myself’ means turn off the internet/TV and sit with Him silently. Not so I can ‘hear’ Him, but just let Him heal me and get me calm so I can later ‘hear’ Him better when I get up and go do whatever it is He’s to put in front of me. I have to rest in order to be effective in His work. Don’t have time to do this? Might be checking that priority list. My prayers are with you just as yours are for all of us.

  24. Kathy permalink

    I think this is mostly a male thing. Men want to be important and successful by the world’s standards. They measure their significance by their career and their salary. As a female, I have no desire to be big and important and to receive the world’s applause. There’s no power trip here. I’d rather stay home and avoid the rat race.

  25. Connie permalink

    Jesus looks toward sinners to teach them how to repent and be more like he is. How wonderful that he personally comes to us in our time of need.

  26. Lynn permalink

    pastor mark, if you want to be sucessful,you must 1st find out what sucess means to you. sucess means different things to different people. to some it’s lots of money, to others, a nice car and a big home,and to others, it means being at the top of their cooperate ladder. we live week to week, rent an apartment,and own a used car. i am disabled and got turned down for disability, so i have no income at all. but i am sucessful because to me sucess means making a positive difference in anothers life. and i have done that in the peoples lives that i introduced to my Jesus.

    • stephanie permalink

      LYNN…………
      WOW seams to be the word of greatness in expessing such strong feelings my husband is allso disabled and has been turned down for disability and i lost my job in june 09 cant find a job yet unemplyment is about to run out but GOD has a special plan I just know it and i have never felt more succsesull PRAIS GOD.

  27. Connie permalink

    Yakie, all you have to do is ask Jesus to forgive your sin (repent) and tell him you know he will save you from your sin. You must be honest and sincere while being saved. The next thing is to have patience while God works with you. You will have a whole new look on life and you will change to the person that God wants you to be. I am sure that Mike will help you with any problems you might encounter. God bless you with his graciousness,Yakie. 🙂

  28. Lydia Reyes permalink

    Oh , how I adore Jesus for calling me to follow him. I know I will never be to the perfection of Jesus, but I do know that I am being transform to his image little by little and I thank the holy spirit with the guidance he gives me. I love spending time with my family in christ, whether in church or here in this site, It helps me to grow to be like Jesus and also spend time with those who need to find Jesus. Let’s all continue this mission that God called us to do. God Bless. Mark have a good day tomorrow on your off day from the internet.

  29. Fr. Basil permalink

    Yakie:
    Unlike other answers you might receive here. To “feel” Christ’s love for you, you must participate in His Church, His Bridegroom.
    Lots of Protestants are very sadly mistaken when it comes to being “saved”. They think that by saying a few words and telling God that you’re a sinner (He already knows by the way) and saying you’re sorry for it and you accept God as your “personal” savior…that’s the formula. But God left us much more than this contemporary formula 1+1 = saved…it’s not quite that simple or ridiculous for that matter.

    Our lives are a process of Being Saved, not a one time event. It is the synergistic cooperation between God and Man that allows that to happen. Find Christ’s Historical Church, confirm it historically speaking and start learning and start praying and participating in the life of the Church. When you do this you participate in the life of Christ. When you participate in the life of Christ you participate and truly Experience His LOVE as well. Don’t put your faith in some magic words, some tears and emotional experience while you listen to a sermon as Christianity. I can promise you that is NOT real Christianity. I can promise you that is a dead end and let down that you will never recover from if you stick with the base protestant formula.

    Find the Truth, the Historical Church that Jesus Himself established, physically established through His Apostles and their Successors. Embrace that wonderful Gift that Christ Himself established.

    • stephanie permalink

      FR.BASIL…………….
      I belive you misunder stand what it realy means to be saved knowone is saying its 1+1 OR ITS just that easy we all fight the same enemy how in the world can that possubbly be just that easy I dont know where your misunerstandig comes from but god clearly tells us to confess are sins he dont care where we are it does not need to be in a HISTORECAL church it can be right here at my bed side he never once said just say your sorry and your saved he say confess your sin and turn from it meaning dont keep doing the verry same sin you are asking to be forgiven for but turn from it and seek to be like him in every long to do what he would do and I dont belive he would come to this specal place that we CHRISTIANS look forword to every day to say things that hurt people thay are supposed to love …………I PRAY FOR YOU I BELIVE GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES YOU ARE ON THIS BLOGG FOR A REASON AND I WELCOM YOU I BELIVE GOD IS WORKING IN YOUR LIFE AS HE IS MINE BUT PLEASE DONT COME HERE TO HURT US OR SAY THINGS THAT WE KNOW ARE NOT COMMING FROM GOD I PRAY THAT WE ALL WILL BE TALKING TO A CHANGED MAN NEXT TIME GOD BLESS YOU.

  30. lynn permalink

    yes i wand to be significant

  31. Kathy permalink

    Fr. Basil, how dare you call the rest of us who love the Lord “ridiculous”! Since you obviously disagree with Pastor Mark, since he is a protestant, why are you on this page at all? Is it to cause trouble, to drive a wedge between us and to hinder God’s work on Facebook? Please refrain from saying anything divisive on here. I’m sure you could start your own Roman Catholic page to promote your particular beliefs.

  32. Pini permalink

    This only works if another wants the help you are offering! I can empathise but can only help if I am allowed.

  33. agy wanzala permalink

    I thank Jesus for having a down to earth attitude, imagine a king sitting with people who are branded as sinners by the society. Jesus is telling me to go back to the cross and to stop the craving of being the best and well talked person in my society, instead to share his love with the less destitute. I LOVE YOU JESUS.

  34. Kathy permalink

    Thank you, Stephanie!

  35. Momodu Abubakar permalink

    Greater is he that is in You…..You are great. Nice Post

  36. Cristy S. permalink

    In the Scriptures, God supplies the essentials for discovering our true significance and worth. The first two chapters of Genesis recount man’s creation, revealing man’s intended purpose (to honor God) and man’s value (that he is a special creation of God). John 10:10 also reminds us of how much God treasures His creation, in that Christ came so that man might experience adundant life. However, as Christians, we need to realize that this abundant life is lived in a real world filled with pain, rejection, and failure. Therefore, experiencing the abundant life God intends for us does not mean that our lives will be problem-free. On the contrary, life itself is a series of problems that often act as obstacles to our search for significance, and the abundant life is the experience of God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of these problems. The Scriptures warn us that we live within a warfare that can destroy our faith, lower our self-esteem, and lead us into depression. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul instructs us to put on the armor of God so that we can be equipped for spiritual battle. However, it often seems that unsuspecting believers are the last to know this battle is occurring, and they don’t know that Christ has ultimately won the war. They are surprised and confused by difficulties, thinking that the Christian life is a playground, not a battlefield.

    As Christians, our fulfillment in this life depends not on our skills to avoid life’s problems but on our ability to apply God’s specific solutions to those problems. An accurate understanding of God’s truth is the first step toward discovering our significance and worth.

    Unfortunately, many of us have been exposed to inadequate teaching concerning our self-worth. As a result, we may have a distorted self-perceptions and may be experiencing hopelessness rather than the rich and meaningful life God intends for us.

    Christians psychologist, Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr., describes our need for self-esteem this way: “The basic personal need of each person is to regard himself as a worthwhile human being.” Some psychologists focus on self-worth with a goal of simply feeling good about ourselves. A biblical self-concept, however, goes far beyond that limited perspective. It is an accurate perception of ourselves, God, and others based on the truths of God’s Word. An accurate, biblical self-concept contains both strength and humility, both sorrow over sin and joy about forgiveness, a deep sense of our need for God’s grace and a deep sense of the reality of God’s grace.

    What a waste to attempt to change behavior without truly understanding the driving need that causes such behavior! Yet millions of people spend a lifetime searching for love, acceptance and success without understanding the need that compels them. We must understand that this hunger for self-worth is God-given and can only by satisfied by Him. Our value is not dependent on our ability to earn the fickle acceptance of people, but rather, its true source is the love and acceptance of God. He created us. He alone knows how to fulfill all our needs.

    “If God loved you enough to give His Son for you, you can believe He loves you enough to meet your needs.”

  37. Carly Cauthen permalink

    AMEN!

  38. Michele permalink

    Thank you!!

  39. Yes, you are right, He is trying to have significant people with Him. It is Him that keeps giving me stuff to even keep busy with and almost all the time He hint hint hints at what His work is, like bringing someone to Him and bringing me back to His good works like the CHristian things that happen throughout the world and showing me things like the victims in Haiti and how there are CHristians there turning to Him and the future of His people in the whole world and not of the world. Amen. I find your posts very encouraging. Thank you Rev David and Thank you Lord.

  40. Yakie Favour permalink

    I am very grateful to every prayer and advice made here. But I didn’t expect to see these in Google, Pls I only confided in the Xtians I met in Facebook and not for the whole world to see. Pls use ur Gud Office to remove these Complaints of mine in this site. I want these to remain in the household of God. Thanks to Rev Mark Brown and His Crew.

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