Have you ever had times in your life when you simply feel outdated, unwanted, and insignificant? Truth be told I think we all have those moments, times, and perhaps even seasons in our lives. But are we being truthful to ourselves when we feel insignificant? Or could it be because of the sinful world around us pressing in on us and making us feel so obsolete? I was just thinking about the Olympic athletes who competed in Rio recently. They have worked very hard, trained physically and mentally and beaten all their competition to go and do their thing at the Olympics. Some won and some didn’t but how do most of them feel today? I mean they woke up today with no particular need for a goal to be met. They achieved their goal already, so now what? Or what about the pro-ball player who decides it is time to retire. After spending years training and preparing for their sport they now are retired, on the shelf, obsolete. Why? Because there is always someone younger, someone stronger, someone who is eager to make their mark waiting in the wings. Let’s be honest, do you really follow a famous athlete after they leave their sport for retirement? Probably not. How do we handle feelings of insignificance?
I believe that our fast-paced information ready disposable society has a lot to do with our feelings of inadequacy and insignificance. Think for a minute, if there was no television, no smart-phone, no computer, no radio, would there be pro-sports? If we lived during a time when walking was the normal form of transportation and major highways were nothing more than a foot path, do you think that you would have time to feel insignificant? If you had to chop wood to build a fire and then go to the creek to get water to boil to make something as simple as a cup of tea or coffee, would you feel insignificant? If every person had a job in the family and did it well then the family would be successful, but if one person was sick or maybe just lazy then most of the family would notice, right? If clothes were handmade and not available to purchase, then wouldn’t we need less clothes? If we had to work long hours in daylight and then sleep when the sun went down and get up the next morning when the sun rose again and do the same chores and the same work all day long just to survive on this earth, would we have time to feel insignificant? I think not! It is because we have so much time on our hands that makes us feel dissatisfied and depressed. It is because we are constantly bombarded with cultural norms of working hard to achieve, with being the best we can be, with work hard and play harder, that when those times, those seasons come in our lives when we are not in the midst of the limelight we feel pushed aside, let down, insignificant, and subject to depression. I ask again, how do we handle feelings of insignificance? With the truth.
When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you, And put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, For it is deceptive food. Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens. Proverbs 23:1-5, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
Proverbs is filled with insightful tips on how to live well. I believe that this bit of wisdom is really worth looking at carefully. We feel insignificant when we come to the point in life that we don’t need things money can buy. We feel insignificant when we compare ourselves to others and what they have or what they do with what they have. We feel unwanted when others are on perpetual pursuit of wealth and fame and fortune and simply forget that we exist. So the writer of this Proverb states the issue plainly…be careful in living with the desire to have what the wealthy have. It isn’t the things that make you unhappy, it isn’t the food that makes you unhappy, but it is the fact that it may not be intended for you, so don’t desire it. Each of us has a purpose to fulfill and many of us will not be in the limelight of society. The writer continues.
My son, if your heart is wise, My own heart also will be glad; And my inmost being will rejoice . When your lips speak what is right. Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the LORD always. Surely there is a future, And your hope will not be cut off. Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way. Proverbs 23:15-19, (NASB).
The wisdom that comes from truth-living is to be sought after because it is understanding that you are important to God and to the plan He has for you that brings about a contented life. When living in a contented life you know that you are living the truth and not desiring the lies this world has to offer. Discontentment often comes from envy and that is not truth-living. Our hope is to be in Christ and not in what we own, what we drive, who we know, what we wear, what we eat, and so forth. It is my opinion that all those things hinder us and weigh us down in this world. Our hope is in Jesus Christ that He will deliver us from this evil world into heaven for an eternity.
My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them And health to all their body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you. Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:20-27, (NASB).
Truth-living keeps us busy focusing our minds and hearts upon Jesus and not on this world. Truth-living means that we are careful where we go, what we do, how we speak, and basically every area of our life is focused on being in heaven one day, on facing God and being told that our name is in the book of life (Revelation 17:8). We know that our time here on earth is to be God-honoring when we are truth-living. We also know that our God created this earth with a purpose in mind for us. How can we feel insignificant when we remind ourselves of God? Look at some scriptures that tell us how important we are to Him.
Four things are small on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: The ants are not a strong people, But they prepare their food in the summer; The shephanim are not mighty people, The locusts have no king, Yet all of them go out in ranks; The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings’ palaces. Proverbs 30:24-28, (NASB).
“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Luke 12:4-7, (NASB).
And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! “And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. “For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:22-32, (NASB).
I could go on and on with verses that let you know just how special you are to God but I think you can see the point in these few. You, dear Christian, are significant to God; you are wanted and have been adopted into God’s family through your belief in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5). You have eternity to look forward to. And just think eternity will be sin-free which will also make us see our own true worth because the world’s lies will be gone from eternity. So stay focused on Jesus, stay grounded in truth-living through the reading of God’s word, and know that the feeling of insignificance is a lie from the world we live in!