The Importance of Being Important

Lord, I’ll do whatever you want (as long as it’s important).

When I was in high school I really thought I would end up going on the mission field. I thought I would move overseas and take the world by storm. I often prayed and told the Lord that I would go anywhere and do anything (except stay in America and help in a boring local church). I wanted to do big things for God. But that was just the problem–I only wanted to do big things. I wanted to do important, life-changing work…not just sit in the pew of a local church and help with the nursery or children’s church or other unexciting, “unimportant” stuff like that.

It’s kind of ironic, but it was much harder for me to be willing to stay in America and live a quiet comfortable life just working and doing normal things than it ever was to surrender to foreign missions and all the dangers and inconveniences that missions entail. Looking back, I see that my desire to do big things for God wasn’t even about God–it was about me. It was about me feeling important and me getting attention and fulfillment. The test was not whether I was willing to give my life to missions; it was whether I was willing to give my life to the quiet, unnoticed work before me. Will I be willing to work a normal job and take care of our home? Will I be satisfied and content if my life’s work is making dinner and doing behind the scenes work at a small local church? If I’m not satisfied with the small, unnoticed tasks before me, then I’m not doing any task for the right reason. If my motivation is to get attention or to feel important, then I’m not really serving God even if I am noticed.

The same is true with my writing. I often think that if my writing doesn’t get attention then it’s worthless. But is that really what it’s about? WordPress has this handy little stat bar that lets you see when someone visits your site or clicks on something you wrote. This bar is a great help in gaging what topics interest people and such but I can get obsessed with the silly little thing. After I’ve published something, I’m bad about coming back to the computer every few minutes to see if my stats have gone up and to see if anyone is commenting on or liking what I’ve written. I get carried away with the numbers–the attention and the sense of importance. If I’m writing what’s on my heart with the intention of glorifying God and encouraging others, then stats shouldn’t matter one bit. If something I write encourages just one person and no one else even looks at it then I should be satisfied to know that God has accomplished what he intended and it doesn’t matter how popular I do or don’t get in the process.

The truth is, no matter what the stats look like on a little bar, I will never really know the impact of my life or my writing–and it doesn’t matter. My job is simply to be faithful in doing what’s before me. The impact of what I do is fully in the hands of God. If God wants to use me, he can–but he certainly doesn’t have to. Truth be told, God doesn’t need our help in accomplishing his work. It is a gift to us that God ever chooses to use us. So if God gives me a small, seemingly unimportant task, I should do it happily, faithfully, and with a sense of honor. Who am I to complain about importance when it really should be such a humbling honor that God ever chooses to include me in his creative work?

12 thoughts on “The Importance of Being Important

  1. I confess- I’m stat-obsessed. I have to force myself to walk away from the stats. When I started a new blog and posted my first story about myself- I thought the stats were my validation that I mattered. Your post put stats in prospective for me.

    Okay, it was just today that I was stat-obsessed, but tomorrow- I will walk away and concentrate more on my next blog and less on the stats.

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  2. When we are faithful in the little things of life, then the Lord will entrust us with bigger things.

    It is nice to know that we are all important in the Lord’s eyes–especially after we have surrendered our life and will to Him. You never know what act or what word that came out of our mouth will influence someone that we only casually met. The Lord is always in the little details of our lives.

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  3. Reading this post really speaks to me tons about why I write. So often, I’ve lost focus on what’s truly important – sharing His love and truth in a dark dark world. Thanks for this, truly blessed to have chanced upon your blog!

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  4. I am very happy to have found your blog. I feel some things in common with you. We recently moved from New England (Boston/Cambridge) back to Illinois, where I am originally from. We are now living downstate, which is a new experience for me, having always lived near large cities, but I am very much enjoying it. I was also raised in the Christian faith and am enjoying some of your thought-provoking posts here.

    I also recently started a blog and was very much needing some encouragement today. I spent a lot of time on a post that I opened myself up in and thought was great, yet it published yesterday and has only received 10 views so far! You are absolutely right that it shouldn’t matter, but the desire to connect better after you’ve invested yourself is still there.

    With regard to this post, I have always struggled with something similar — wanting to know that my work and contributions to life are significant. I have always questioned why it is that I feel this way. When it comes down to it, I know that strive to do and be the best person I can be — so that I can be as positive an influence on the people that God has put in my life as I can be (particularly my two young daughters). It is still a daily struggle but by (trying to) trust and be as good a steward with my talents as I can be, I take the steps to continue to move forward in life.

    I’m looking forward to reading more! (And, by the way, congratulations on being freshly pressed — I really enjoyed that post as well!)

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  5. I continue to write also…I’ve written since 2005 and rarely have more than 50 or so visits a day. The writing evidently has nothing to do with the ‘reading’…it’s something called out of me to do. Thanks for your words and congratulations on being freshly pressed today. I’m guessing that it will be a wonderful experience. Blessings!

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  6. I think it has been in Sunday school recently I heard something that went like this:
    how you feel when you do something and no one notices, shows where your heart is. Like whether you are doing it for man’s praise or God’s pleasure…
    great post… just bc I don’t comment doesn’t mean I think your posts are good BTW 🙂 it is hard to take the time to put my thoughts down w/ all I have going on!

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    • Maya,
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I know you are so busy (one of the busiest people I know actually) so I really appreciate that you take the time to read and comment (and I also understand why you can’t always take the time to do so!).

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  7. This is so true. I think about the way God has changed my life and my outlook on so many things. After Grandpa went home to be with the Lord, I thought how nice it would be to get a small apartment and live by myself. That’s something in my seventy four years I have never done. God’s plans were different and I now have five people living with me and another on the way. How blessed I am to wake up every day and have little ones hug me and kiss me. And to know I have a daughter and five other grandkids and their families who would welcome me at any time I choose.
    My friend Vesta told me yesterday, (she’s a missionary to the Jewish people in Missouri and Kansas, and she’s seventy years old) that one of her mentors is doing a life story on her. He wants all the exciting facts of her life as she grew up and as she started her missionary work. She said there hasn’t been that much excitement in her life, she just does the every day things of teaching bible classes and helping people. Showing them the plan of God for their life. She became a missionary after she finished college, I would say that is a life achivement, a life well spent. Who knows how many people will greet her as she walks through heavens gates.
    There’s also your Mom who raised six kids, home schooled them, and prays daily for them. How different would those lives have been if she had not taken the time to teach them and had sent them to public school?
    I love you Kari keep on writing even if no one but your Mom and I read what you write you are blessing our hearts.

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    • Grams, thanks so much for always reading and commenting and letting me know what you think. I’m so thankful for the quiet work that both you and my mother put into your families…your sacrifices ripple through my life every day. I remember watching you when you were taking care of Pops and always admiring your love, patience, and sacrifice in how you took care of him. Even though you love him, I know it was still so much work and took up your whole life…you were (and are!) such an amazing example of love and sacrifice. I hope when Darren and I are old that I will take as good care of him as you did of Pops (and of everyone else in your life). Love you!

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  8. A very powerful commentary on what so many of us Christians struggle with. This article brought to my mind a woman I remember so very well…Glada. She was in charge of the children’s church ministry in the first church I remember ever being a part of- Kansas City Baptist Temple. Glada was a very plain woman, unmarried and devoted to the ministry God had given her. She was seldom noticed and certainly not appreciated as much as she should have been. BUT she loved what she was doing because she wasn’t doing it for Glada she was doing it for God and she did it with all of her being. If I remember her story correctly she and her brother were reached through the bus ministry. Perhaps that is why children were so special to her, I just know that she touched my life in such a way that I have never forgotten her.

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    • Mom, thanks for reading and commenting as always. I remember you talking about that lady before and it is such a good reminder that God uses the small things (or whatever he chooses) to accomplish his work.

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