Search for Significance on a Saturday Morning
This morning my two year old son Jett woke me up around 6:30am begging for brexfast. We made our way downstairs and I pulled up a chair for Jett to stand on while I worked on the ingredients for chocolate chip waffles. The smell soon wafted upstairs and my sleepy eyed four year old made his way down to join us. We soon indulged in maple syrup and waffles. After breakfast we let the cartoons roll as I went to spend some time with the Lord. Finally around 8am, I headed outside to mow the lawn. As I opened the door, Austin broke from cartoon trance and asked with a slight panic, “Are you leaving?”
“No,” I said. “I’m just gonna go mow the lawn.”
“Can I help you?”
I know this won’t last, but I want you to think about this for a second. My son who can zone out with the best of them into TV land, noticed I was going into the garage and asked if he could help me. Now let’s add 10 years to the equation and think of the probability of that happening on a Saturday morning around 8am. Please Jesus, let it be so.
As I mowed the lawn with my four year old following my every move and jumping at my request to get another lawn bag, I asked myself, “Why is he doing this?”
A Four Year Old’s Significance
And then it hit me. His entire significance depends on what I think of him. I mean I spend more consistent time with my sons than anyone except my wife. And I have learned that my words carry weight with him. He is watching everything I do and then puts it on repeat. It’s incredible.
Transition of Significance
Now I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m willing to wager that when he gets to elementary school and he gets into middle school there will start to be a transition from finding his significance in his amazing father, to finding his significance from his peers. I don’t know when this happens, but we have all experienced it personally. I remember caring so deeply what people I would only know for two semesters thought of how my hair looked on one day of school and I had a breakdown tantrum. There were times I cared so much about being accepted I would have done anything. And then transition that to adulthood, depending on the environment you find yourself in there is a longing of the soul for someone else to say you matter.
That’s why it still matters when elderly parents make comments about your career, your kids, your life. That’s why it still matters when a subtle joke at work hits to your core. And this is why we pursue success in the eyes of the world at the expense of others. Politics doesn’t just happen in Washington D.C. It happens everywhere. It happens in marriages. It happens at church and it has been this way for a long time. However, Jesus does have something to say about it.
Misplaced Significance: James and John
Do you remember in Matthew 20, James and John have their mom ask Jesus to promote them. Now there was a serious need to cut the cord for James and John. Their helicopter mom had significance issues of her own and was using her sons to assuage them. But James and John wanted something really good. They wanted to be close to Jesus in God’s Kingdom. Who can fault them for that? The problem is that they wanted to make sure that their 10 buddies knew they were close to Jesus. You see that’s the problem. James and John weren’t content with a connection with Jesus. They were only content when they felt significant in the eyes of those close to them and had significance with those they didn’t know. It wasn’t about Jesus, it was about them.
I think that is our problem. I think we are born with this innate desire for someone else to find us significant. We get glimpses of this reality in our spouse and in family. However, even that doesn’t fully satisfy our search for significance. That search is only satisfied by Jesus.
Now watch this, in Matthew 20:27-28
“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus gives his life as a ransom. We all know what a ransom is. Someone gets kidnapped and they demand a ransom. It’s a trade. I’ll give you my hostage when you give me what I want. In this case God wants justice. He wants people to pay for their treason and rebellion against him. And then he satisfies his own need for justice with his love and grace as Jesus takes the place of sinful man on the cross. His last words on the cross, “Tetelestai,” reveal his heart in satisfying God’s wrath. It is finished. He paid for it all.
Now that is significant. In the quest for greatness in the eyes of another. You have no further to look than to Jesus Christ who thought you were significant enough to die for. And that should fuel how you treat others. Not in a way to use them as your stepping stone to power, control, approval, or comfort, but rather to serve them in a way that reflects that you have found significance in having your ransom paid by the God who made you.