The Significant Life
Have you ever listened to “Adventures in Odyssey”? My kids love that radio program—the stories of Whit, Connie, Eugene, and the gang entertain and educate while teaching important spiritual lessons. My favorite episodes involve the Imagination Station, an invention that allows its user to virtually insert themselves into history via a computer program. When someone enters the Imagination Station, they experience significant events first-hand, witnessing moments from both biblical and more recent history.
Sometimes I wish the Imagination Station existed outside of a kids’ radio drama. I would love to watch Daniel walk out of the lions’ den, John Hancock sign the Declaration of Independence, or Rosa Parks refuse to give up her seat. What monumental moments in history!
Can you imagine watching Martin Luther nail his theses to the door? The determination on his face, the purpose in his stride, the sound of a hammer echoing through history. Oh, to be one of the lucky few who experienced it firsthand!
Then again, if we had been there, would it have felt that significant? Did the people around him stop and take notice? Did the street go mysteriously silent, watching history being made? Or did everyone go on with their business, maybe giving a sidelong glance at the strange man nailing paper to a door?
I’m guessing it’s the latter. In fact, I would venture to guess that Luther himself didn’t fully recognize the significance of his actions. He didn’t know we would be celebrating his protest 500 years later. He didn’t do it to be famous, he did it to be obedient. Luther wanted to follow God step by step, and those steps happened to take him to the front door of Castle Church.
We often believe that living a life of significance involves Big and Important Things, and our lives don’t seem to measure up. We see people like Martin Luther and Rosa Parks and think, “I wish I could do something like that!” But the truth is that Martin Luther was just fed up with the church leadership, and Rosa Parks was just tired. They didn’t set out to change the course of history with a single act—they simply sought to follow God where He led.
I love how The Message interprets the beginning of Romans 12: “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.” Our significance, a life worthy of placing before God, is not found in Big Important Moments, but in faithfully following Him in our everyday, ordinary lives—and letting Him use them as He sees fit.
Luther’s act of defiance did not make his life significant in itself. In fact, if his lifestyle didn’t back his 95 theses, no one would likely have taken notice at all. Instead, his true worth came from a life lived in communion with his Master and Creator. In the same way, if we want people to see God in us, it won’t be in the big moments—it will be in the day-to-day, moment-by-moment way we display Him in our lives.