Finding Meaning

As I walked out of the church I wondered to myself, Did that have any effect? Will it really mean anything in the long run? 

An opportunity had arisen to speak at a local Pentecostal church plant. “You must come and share a word with us,” the pastor said to me. 

“I would be happy to,” I responded. When I walked into the church, there were about 20 people singing songs with the aid of microphones. I sat down and wondered why such a small group needed a sound system. But then again, it seemed to indicate that this church had a real program taking place. 

As it was my first time preaching to this group, I had chosen a topic that would challenge them to put God first. I could feel God smoothing my delivery—I often feel a bit handicapped when I preach in Nepali. But after I was finished preaching and socializing with the church group, I still thought to myself, I wonder if that mattered for God’s kingdom?

Perhaps you have asked yourself that same question about your work. Does what I do really matter? I have met many people who ask that question. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to matter what line of work you’re in. As you get caught up in the rounds of life, the cycles keep repeating, and in creeps the question.

How do we answer this question? I think that when we ask that question we are simply acknowledging that we are not clear about what role our work has in God’s great plan.

Imagine you are a machinist who makes tiny metal parts. You are approached by a man who gives you some plans for a complicated mechanism. Looking at the plans, you realize this project will take you the better part of ten years. You ask what it’s for, and he replies that he can’t tell you. How much satisfaction will you get from that job? It would probably be difficult to invest much time in it without having any idea what it was going to do or where it was going to end up.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. That tells me that, in my work as a missionary, I neither really start anything in someone’s life nor finish it. My role is to be a rung in the ladder people are climbing toward God. If we live with Christ in our hearts and point people to Him when we can, we can know that our job was done well. We may still wonder whether what we did really mattered or not. But no matter whether we touch people’s lives for years or just a moment, the important thing is that we do our part, that we are rungs in their ladders. Where did their ladders start and where will they take them next? Only Christ knows. When Peter asked Jesus what would become of John, Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:22). 

The just shall live by faith. Perhaps we think of that as meaning we believe in Jesus and receive salvation. But let’s not forget faith as it relates to our lifelong work for Jesus. How do we find relevance and meaning in our work and our jobs? I’ve come to believe that it doesn’t matter what occupation God calls you to. If you do it for Him, He will cause great value to flow from it. We find relevance and meaning by faith. Faith in God’s promise that if we lean on His understanding and live our lives as followers of Christ, He will direct the seemingly mundane paths of our day. —

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