Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What is Importance to God?

Do people ever treat your contribution to their world like you smell bad? Do you ever treat others' contributions to your world like they smell bad? That's not really the direction I want to go with this post, but I thought it worthy to throw out.

I have another conundrum along the lines as the last. It's not a contradiction like the other one, but a matter of drawing a balance:

Question: Are we important to God?

Answer: God has given us value in Christ's work on the cross. This is a priceless value. However, God doesn't need us for anything. When it comes to ministry, we can point to the people in the spotlight and say, "We couldn't have done it without so-and-so." These are important people. God doesn't even need us to worship Him. Inasmuch as He was undiminished in creation, He gains nothing from our worship. Worshiping God benefits us. If we failed to worship God, we are told, the rocks would cry out. Indeed they have, for inasmuch as we are genuine Christians our hearts were once stone. Have they not now cried out to God?

Question: Is knowing that we are important enough to God for Him to send His only begotten Son to pay the penalty on the cross for our sins necessary for us to render due service to His glory?

Answer: We know that we love because He first loved us. (I John 4:17-19) We respond to God because he accords us enough importance. Can we stand before God reeking of sin like Asok before the board stinks of unimportance? If the board entertains Asok and his proposal, then they accord him importance. Likewise, as God sanctifies us, He accords us importance.

As a parenthetical, if the pointy-haired boss presents Asok's proposal, the board accepts it because of who presents it. Certainly, our case has been made by the Son before the Father. In that respect we have an advocate. When I was in the Marine Band it was recognized that I had a level of intelligence. For a while, I had the highest GT score in the entire 2D Marine Division Headquarters Battalion. I was an unimportant Lance Corporal, however, and my fellow band members dismissed this gift summarily by saying, "He's book smart, but he doesn't have any common sense." That afforded them the justification they needed to maintain their own self-importance. Once, during a sectional, we encountered a complex set of rhythms. I correctly analyzed the written music and was alone in my analysis. Everyone else completely and hotly disagreed with me. Just then, our Master Sergeant, the senior staff member of our unit, entered and inquired as to the substance of the debate. After studying the music for several moments, he agreed that my analysis was correct. With his authority, it was generally accepted and we were able to move on. He was important. I was not. This despite the fact that I demonstrably outweighed everyone in the room, including the staff member, in cognitive marbles.

Well, we know that human perception is less than wise. Importance is often recognized on anything other than rational terms. For all of God's glory, none of us is intrinsically important. However, God accords us a level of virtual importance. First is that we need to understand our unimportance. Second, in order to respond in love, we must be able to understand our importance to God. My question is this:

What's the balance between understanding our unimportance and our importance with regard to our Creator?

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