Significant by James R. Coggins

In a recent devotional piece, I presented the “Ten Commandments” as they actually were—a covenant in which “the Israelites would agree to worship God and obey Him and God would agree to be with them and bless them and make them significant.” I compared this to the new covenant in which Jesus died on the cross to free us from sin. I said, “Under this covenant, God asks us to worship and obey Him. In return, He promises to be with us (in the form of the Holy Spirit) and to bless us and make us significant.”

One of my readers asked, “What leads you to believe that He promises to make us significant?” It is a good question because many Christians certainly don’t feel significant or important.

Notice that I said “significant,” not famous or great or rich or powerful or influential. If God loves us, we are significant. But there is more to it than that.

Through the Old Testament covenant, the Jews were given the task of sharing God’s revelation with the world. Christians today have been given the same mandate. Whatever role they play in this individually, Christians are part of something very significant, something earth-shatteringly important, the central movement in the history of the world. In this sense, every Christian is significant.

Even from a secular perspective, human society functions, not because of a few great men, but because of the billions of people who get up every morning (or evening), go to work, and do their jobs.

The city of Antioch was the home of the first significant gentile Christian church. It is where believers in Jesus were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). It was the church which sent out the first missionaries, Paul and Barnabas and Silas and John Mark (writer of the Gospel of Mark), to evangelize the Roman Empire. And how was that church founded? Acts 11:19-21 (NIV) says: “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” In other words, the greatest missionary church in the history of Christianity was founded by a few nameless foreign refugees.

There is an illustration of a great evangelist who won many people to Jesus. He was converted by a lesser known evangelist who brought fewer people to Jesus. And he in turn was brought to Jesus by an unknown lay Christian.

A friend of mine preached through the book of Ruth. In the last sermon in this series, he talked about the “other kinsman redeemer,” the one who refused to redeem Ruth and Naomi. This minor dereliction of duty deprived him of the opportunity to become the ancestor of David and Jesus and play a necessary part in the redemption of the world.

Tolkien’s Gandalf said something like this: “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”

The vast majority of the work of the church is carried out by ordinary lay Christians, backbenchers. They are the Sunday school teachers, club leaders, ushers, greeters, janitors, secretaries, committee members, donors, singers, pianists, drummers, musicians, prayer warriors, and groundskeepers. They make the coffee and serve the meals. They are the nameless volunteers who staff food banks, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, women’s shelters, prison visitation ministries, thrift stores, and numerous other ministries. They are the godly parents and godly grandparents. They are the good friends and good neighbors who help out in numerous little ways and who are “just there.”

So, yes, God does promise to make us significant. And He always keeps His promises.

About jrcoggins

James R. Coggins is a professional writer and editor based in British Columbia, Canada. He wrote his first novel in high school, but, fortunately for his later reputation as a writer, it was never published. He briefly served as a Christian magazine editor (for just over 20 years). He has written everything from scholarly and encyclopedia articles to jokes in Reader’s Digest (the jokes paid better). His six and a half published books include four John Smyth murder mysteries and one other, stand-alone novel. In his spare time, he operates Mill Lake Books, a small publishing imprint. His website is
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1 Response to Significant by James R. Coggins

  1. You’ll forgive my linking this piece of yours with this of mine: Acts 8:

    And certainly in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats [Mt. 25:31 ff.] The Lord makes the serving, or not serving, of each of His people of ultimate significance to the unbelieving heathen, when they come up for judgement.


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