Do You Even Matter?

I was challenged by a good friend about the whole "Live BIG. Die Empty." concept where I'm always talking about having vision, setting big goals and living in your purpose. It was a friendly challenge. Nothing too heated but it went along the lines of "What about all the "regular" people? Some of you folks act like people aren't valuable if they aren't doing something great! The world needs 9-to-5'ers, too. You act like regular folks are nobodies!"

Here are my thoughts on it. I believe every single person has a purpose beyond mere existence. Simple as that. I don't know that everyone has to rival Donald Trump, become as influential as Oprah or speak as eloquently as Charles Swindoll to be valuable. Probably not. There is greatness available to us all in every station of life.

I draw a lot of my inspiration from this from the book of Jeremiah wherein God shows Jeremiah how he had been uniquely crafted for the Lord's special purpose BEFORE there was even a manifestation of Jeremiah in the world! I love this passage. Read it for yourself! (I've linked it and will spare you all the details on this page.)

I like the Parable of the Talents for this because some people read about Jeremiah and say "Well, that might be true for him, but I'm not called like that!" Perhaps. Perhaps not. But let's look at the parable for a moment:

"For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey." ~Matthew 25:14-15 (NASB)

Here's what I like about this passage and what I say to people who wonder whether they matter: No servant got ZERO talents. Each one had an expectation from the Master to be fruitful. Each one received according to their capacity the way...being fruitful with their "talent" was a command and an expectation! Read the story. The Master wasn't offering a friendly suggestion. He demanded/demands a return on His investment!

No matter who you are, you weren't given ZERO to work with either. You've probably been given quite a bit, actually, and the Lord requires a return on His investment in you. matter and so does what you do with your life.

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The Parable of the Talents is my personal favorite argument for investing in oneself! And I don't mean just giving to the church or as in Charity, although these are both necessary. I mean spending time, energy and yes money on personal, business and spiritual development. In addition to your point above, I don't think people (i.e. Christians) truly understand the magnitude of this lesson. This is not an excuse to be self centered or self absorbed, but a command to take ownership of, responsibility for, and increase what we have been designed with at conception (See the Book of Jeremiah as you reference). The end of the story is strong and clear: the servant who played it safe was labeled "wicked and lazy."

The foundational basis for my personal ministry focus is the story of the woman who came to Christ, poured her "very Costly Oil" on His feet and washed His feet with her tears. In birthing this ministry in my heart, God helped me to recognize how the trauma, mistakes, bad decisions and shame of our past can still culminate, upon our encounter with Christ, in fulfilling the exact purpose we are born with!! Christ’s last words about this woman (that we know of) were, "She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." She unintentionally fulfilled a purpose that no one else was prepared to fulfill, simply by "doing what she could" and giving her best and her all. That one act created a legacy for her that can never be tainted or diminished! This is a perfect example of how even the lowliest and most broken among us have purpose, and can leave a legacy greater than the past and present, if we would only 1. Take ownership, 2. Take responsibility and then 3. INCREASE what we have discovered by investing in what we have been given. GOD IS GOOD!!!

Of course the last aspect of this formula is the sharing part. And as you have so eloquently coined, “If its really worth having, it will cost a great price.” What God has so freely given, and asked us to multiply/produce fruit/bear evidence of, He will certainly ALWAYS ask for it back…in one way or another. Sometimes in the form of a ministry, outreach, offering or gift; or, sometimes even in the form of a business. The key is recognizing who dispensed the talents, and resolving to whom all the proceeds belong: Who’s in Charge?

This topic is my passion!

That is all… 

OK...anyway, the main point to my first comment was supposed to be for the purpose of saying how timely this post is as a reminder to me of how God has always urged me of the importance of investing in what He has placed in me. I have always known what and where the bulk of my investment needs to go, and have willingly invested. But 2012 has been tough so far and Im not feeling it...but Ive persevered. Im staying the course and trust that God will reward my investment with the appropriate increase. I needed this nudge, tonight specifically.

Great post. Great points.
Yes, you matter…even when you’re still discovering who “you” is.
After spending two years volunteering and coaching people who have been laid-off, I found that a lot of people had an identity issue. (Many of them were Christian too and some of the greatest energy zappers.)

It seemed that more people identified with their titles, not their talents, purpose and passion. When they were stripped of their titles via lay-off/fired, they disappeared too. LESSON: Be careful of what (and who) you let define you.

When I would meet a person for the first time, I’d ask, “What are you looking for?” to see if I would get the “excuse” response or the “opportunity” response. The opportunity response was the hopeful response of exploring something new or a refined description of the job they used to do.

When I would get the “excuse” response, I’d challenge them to consider the things they were passionate about and ask them what they believed their purpose to be. Some would disregard the possibility probably because they hadn’t had to think about it before and because they were focused on the financial implication of not having a job. Others were more open. What I found in both cases was that people either needed permission to consider that they had a purpose and passion or that they simply needed to be reminded of their purpose and passions before the job came along. People just needed time to discover, remember and redefine themselves. The reward was to see those who unearthed those talents, discovered their passion and purpose and then created something new.

Here’s that advice that I give the 9-5ers I meet…
Have a “personal” business card in addition to “work” business cards because there will be occasions when you are not representing your company; you are representing you (your purpose, your talents, your assignment) apart from the job. Sometimes, it may be represented by the same title. Sometimes, it is different and that’s okay.

One last thing, there are no “regular folks”, I believe that people are working in their purpose in some way, they just haven’t realized that they are, therefore they are not maximizing the fullest of it yet for the greater good. In time, they’ll look back and make the connection that they’ve been utilizing those talents all along.

Thanks for sharing.

I love your comments! I especially like advising people to keep a "personal" business card.'s been on my list to do and I haven't done it. Thank you for the reminder!

Mark, You'te the sencomd person I've heard speack on God looking for a return on what He's invested in us. I've never heard that taught before. I can relate to the "regular people" comment and wanting to be one of them esp. when my purpose seemed too hard and/or out of reach. The more I live and learn, the more I realize that I was born for a purpose. And yes, I too believe we all have a purpose and we are great in our own individual way.

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