By: Steve Wilmot
Inside every one of us is the desire, even the need, for significance. Kevin Myers writes, “Significance is more than making a dollar; it’s making a difference.” That’s what we want, isn’t it? We want to know that our time here on earth mattered. That we made a difference.
Significance in life stems from three primary sources. First, it stems from finding a purpose bigger than yourself.
Too many people are content to live in their own little stories — stories that revolve around themselves and their limited circle of friends and family. A story that equates significance with accomplishment.
But God offers a starring role in his big story. The story of redemption where significance grows out of the fact that God created you and loves you and has a purpose for your life. In a growing relationship with God, we learn to depend upon him to build a life that matters.
Second, significance stems from having godly character that whets the appetite of others to be like you. If you’re a nasty, grouchy cheat, and liar, no one will want to be like you.
That’s why character is so important in becoming a meaningful influence on someone’s life. A godly nature only God can shape and form us into that is attractive to those we want to impact.
Third, significance stems from relationships. You’ll never make a difference in someone else’s life if you haven’t built a relationship with them. You can’t do it long distance.
And you can’t do it without a way of life that earns you right to speak into his life, which can only come by connecting with God.
Everything starts and ends with God and your relationship with him. There was this guy who had everything our world defines as success. He had power.
Several PhD diplomas hung on his wall. He enjoyed any pleasure he craved. He ran several successful businesses and had hundreds of friends.
He was the successful author of dozens of books. He always had the newest and best of every possession. Anytime a new product came out, he bought it. He was the richest man on earth.
Yet his life was empty, and he lived with regrets. He’s the poster boy for replacing relationships and character and God — and thus significance — for what he thought was success.
You may have heard of him. His name was Solomon. He shares his story in Ecclesiastes. On nearly every page of this biography he exclaims, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”
With all his success and power and possessions and prestige and pleasures, you’d think it would be different, wouldn’t you? That he was enjoying a life of great fulfillment and satisfaction.
But it dawned on him one day it didn’t. He’d been fooled and now “everything is meaningless.” With regret he looked back on his life and realized his life hadn’t ever counted for anything.
Solomon lived his life to serve himself — his pleasures, his wants, his power. It was all about him. And where did that lead him? “Meaningless, meaningless. Everything is meaningless.”
The good news is that Solomon didn’t wallow in regret about his past for the rest of his life. He decisively changed course.
At the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon urges his readers not to make the same mistake he had. He writes, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say,“I find no pleasure in them” (Eccl. 12.1).
He’s saying, “Don’t wait until you’re old to discover this truth like I did. Change course today!” The pivotal question of whether we live a life of significance or waste our lives is this one: Who are you going to serve?
If you don’t settle that question, you’ll be what James describes as double-minded — unstable in all your ways (James. 1.8).
If you sit on the fence, you’ll vacillate. As a result, you will never get anywhere in life — no significance, no life that matters or makes a difference.
You must choose who you are going to serve if you want your life to matter. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.
Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6.24).
Jesus said you must decide who you will serve because you can’t serve more than one person at a time.
You can’t serve God and anything else. It’s God or money. God or popularity. God or that relationship. God or worldly success.
Jesus isn’t saying, “I want to be first place in your life.” He’s saying, “I don’t even want there to be a second place.” In the race for who wins first place in your life, Jesus must be the only one on the track.
Will you make Jesus your sole master? Will you pursue your glory or God’s glory? Your answer to these two questions will determine if your life was significant and meaningful, or a waste of time and meaningless. Who do you choose?
Steve Wilmot is a former Edgerton, Ohio area pastor who now seeks “to still bear fruit in old age” through writing. He is the author of seven books designed to assist believers to make steady progress on their spiritual journey.