I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12: 1-2; ESV
In today’s world, there are many who want to be someone or something else than what they are: being a sport’s star, a great politician, a musical icon, having tons of money, etc…. Pastors are not exempt from this; some want bigger congregations, more ministries, the salaries that other pastors have, perks, and so on. When a mega church grew from a very small church, many other churches believed that if they did exactly what that church did, they too will grow into the mega church they envied. Whether it’s material, social, emotional, and even spiritual, people want to be or have what they see in others. Why can’t we be content with who we are?
I must confess that I sometimes get this way. I wish I could be a full-time pastor where I can do all that I am gifted to do instead of being bi-vocational and working a full-time job while doing the ministry. I can see so much more I can accomplish for God and those I serve than what I have time for now. However, I also know that what I do at my other vocation is also ministry that is needed. I also realize that I am a piece of God’s big puzzle; meaning that I have a specific purpose and I am to be placed in a specific place which no one else can fill. I can try to fit in other places, but it would still be out of place and I would distract from the picture as a whole.
You and your life is the same. You fit into God’s puzzle like no one else can. And when you are in place, you complete the picture the way God intended for it to be like. If you try to be like another piece, you stand out like a sore thumb and you take away from the beauty God is trying to produce. But when we are in the place where God wants us to be, we don’t stand out but we also become exactly what God intended for us to be.
Once I learned this, I began to live life without regrets; meaning that I could be at peace with who I am more so than who I am not. I was free to enjoy being myself; unique and wonderfully made for His good pleasure. I can be content in pastoring a small-member congregation and know all whom I serve rather than pastoring a large-member congregation and struggle to know the people without neglecting someone’s needs. I can be content in writing articles for this paper knowing that I am hopefully ministering to the needs of our community rather than being world known and not know if I make a difference. In short; I am happy being who I am and to use the talents God granted me than to dream about being someone else and not doing anything for His glory. I matter because I am me and no one else can be me. The same goes for you!
Read the passage above in The Message version of the Bible. Pay close attention to the wording and how it helps us to understand the importance of being ourselves as we mirror God’s will and image:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
This is what God wants for us and from us. As we come to grips with this, we experience the joy and freedom of being who we are in Christ. There are no envious motives because we are who God wants us to be. We pay more attention to what we are doing to honor God than what the other person is doing because we are busy doing what He placed on our hearts.
And if you are striving to be more; there is nothing wrong with that – as long as God is moving you to do so. However, if you desire more just because someone else has it, that they are getting more recognition than you, and that they have more than you; you will never be content in Christ or yourself.
Thank You for making me who I am. When I see others doing more, getting more and being more than what I perceive myself to be or to have, gently remind me of my place in Your puzzle and of my importance to completing Your picture. Also do the same for each reader. Looking forward to when we see Your completed image in us and through us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.