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[Feeling Insignificant] Happens

• Greg Boyd

Most of us grew up wanting to be a superstar of some kind, whether it was an athlete, performer, or war hero. However, as we grow older, we recognize that we might be more ordinary than we thought. Yet, God wants us to know exactly how significant we are.

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Think back a ways to when you were a kid. Do you remember what dreams you had of growing up? Do you remember in what ways you wanted to be a superstar? This is part of our wiring and how we were created, because God created us to be his images in this world. We were meant to shine and be significant. However, in this fallen world, we find that this purpose to shine has been warped to something called the lie of acquired significance. This lie says that we have to do something or achieve something in order to be significant, and this goes directly against what God says our significance is.

This goes back to the Garden with Adam and Eve, where the serpent deceives them into thinking that if they do something, eating from the tree, then they will be wise and, in turn, become significant compared with God. Ever since, we’ve been trying to fill the void of how to be significant in this world. We dream as children of how we’ll be significant, and by the time we reach adulthood, most of us come to the realization that we won’t do anything that is considered significant in the world’s eyes. Our “lucky break” doesn’t happen.

This realization is the crap of insignificance that happens in our lives. We feel that we don’t matter because our dreams as a child were never fulfilled. We feel like we didn’t make a difference and that we don’t matter. Where we once thought we would be a beautiful dancer, now we are a 34 year old check out clerk with a grouchy boss. Where we once thought we would get a great job and travel the world, we now are living paycheck to paycheck with no thoughts on how to get out. The crap of insignificance is a feeling of emptiness, lost opportunity, and apathy about life.

However, God’s good news says that we are significant, and it’s not something that we can acquire or achieve. It’s the truth that we already have more significance, meaning, and worth than we can possibly comprehend. It’s the truth that we’ve had that significance before we ever became Christians. While the coin was still lost, it was significant to God. It’s so significant, that he searches high and low for it, and rejoices when it is found. It’s the truth that we were meant to be superstars in a radically unique way when we receive God’s grace and reflect God’s love. This is real significance, as it is not something we achieve, but something given to us by God. Everything else falls short of this significance.

In this parable, the necklace represent something more than monetary value. It was a gift to the woman, of deep personal meaning. It represented all of her hopes and dreams, and she had to find it. We are God’s coin. We are deeply personal to God, and he has to find us. We are that significant to him. The coin does nothing to earn this significance, and neither do we. We simply are significant to God.

God does want us to get out of bondage to sin, but whether we succeed or fail, our significance doesn’t change. He wants us to get out of bondage so that we can realize who we really are and shine in that reality, but whether we succeed or fail, our significance doesn’t change. Don’t try to be a superstar, simply be the one that God already created you to be. Imagine Jesus telling you exactly who you are, and make that the benchmark of significance in your life.

(During the sermon, Greg mentioned a handout that includes a list of “I Am” statements. The list is available in the PDF version of the [Crap] Happens booklet and also as an individual download. Find both of those on our [Crap] Happens series page.)

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Topics: Identity in Christ, Pain & Suffering, Presence of God

Sermon Series: [Crap] Happens


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Study guide (opens new window)
Slides
Transcript
Identity in Christ Handout


Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 15:8-20

    “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

    Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

    “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

    “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

    “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

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12 thoughts on “[Feeling Insignificant] Happens

    Denni Arli says: Monday March 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Dear Greg,

    Thank you for another great sermons!

    Denni

    Reply
    Susana Tejerina says: Tuesday March 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Dear Greg

    This is an amazing sermon and not often pastors talk about this topic when in fact there are lots of people, including Christians, walking around like zombies feeling insignificant and not sure of what they are supposed to be doing.
    It is even more important to discuss this in our Christian communities to prevent ourselves falling into “doing more Christian stuff” as an answer to this feeling. Ultimately we will continue to feel insignificant and perhaps even think that being a Christian “doesn’t work”. As Christians we are at greater risk of camouflaging our good works as a selfless loving actions when in fact they are merely driven by the need of recognition and value from the outside world. So many of us feel depress and whereas some might need medication due to a chemical imbalance many others would be cured by listening to your words and working on remembering our real worth, meaning and significance in Christ.

    Thanks a million Greg.

    Susana from London

    Reply
    Matthew Hansen says: Wednesday March 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks for the amazing sermon as usual. This speaks volumes to me, especially now. I’ve struggled with this since I got my associate degree in college even before that. Just struggling with the job situation as well as others. Feeling not worth much, seeing others go ahead in life and feeling that I’m frozen in one spot or going backwards. Its tough cause your living in it and our culture is bombarded with what makes us significant. I know in my heart that God should be the source of life and worth, but my head says otherwise. But thanks again for the topic. Its what I needed to hear.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    Shaun Dixon says: Saturday March 26, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Hi Greg,

    This was exactly what I needed to hear at this moment in my life. For far too long I have been buying into the lie of “my insignificance” and have been striving and struggling to try and somehow “obtain” my significance only to feel even more insignificant. The Biblical truths brought forward in this message speak volumes. Thank you for a job well done.

    I was also wondering if it would be at all possible for you to email me or post on your website a copy of the “I am” statements that were handed out to your church.

    Thanks again,

    Shaun, in Ontario

    Reply
    Jim LePage says: Monday March 28, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Hey Shaun – Glad you liked the sermons and thanks for being a podrishioner!

    The “I Am” statements are included in the PDF of the [Crap] Happens booklet (the very last pages) and are also available as a separate downloadable PDF. You can find both of those here:

    https://whchurch.org/sermons-media/sermon-series/crap-happens

    Hope that helps!

    Reply
    John says: Sunday November 6, 2011 at 11:01 am

    This is an old one I know, but despite this: thanks for this info. Just what I wanted to know. I just relistened this awsome sermon twice during the last days. Lots of amazing stuff. And I was wondering about these “I Am” statements… here they are.

    You guys are so organized and I (as a podrishioner) feel quite well cared for. What a blessing!

    Thank you!

    Reply
    Jim LePage says: Monday November 7, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Thanks for the feedback, John! We love our podrishioners!

    Reply
    Jonathan says: Wednesday April 27, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Greg,

    This was a great message and one I missed as I came to be a podrishioner only in the last 3 years. I really needed to hear this 20 yrs ago, but 2016 will do. I thank God for your ministry and your uncanny ability to remind & convince us that Jesus REALLY does love us unconditionally.

    Thanks, brother.

    Jonathan G.

    Reply
    Jan says: Wednesday May 23, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Hello Greg and the team
    I am looking for the ‘I AM’ statements. I have gone to the (crap) happens page but I can’t find it. Can you direct me to where I can find them.
    Thank you
    Kind Regards
    Jan

    Reply
      Amanda Churchill says: Tuesday May 29, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      Hello Jan,

      Thanks for reaching out! I will email you a copy of those “I Am” statements. I have also made available a downloadable PDF of the “I Am” statements in the resource section of this sermon, and to the “Crap Happens” sermon series page!

      Reply
    Robert says: Wednesday May 30, 2018 at 8:18 am

    May I have a copy of the I AM statements too please.

    Reply
      Amanda Churchill says: Thursday May 31, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Hello Robert,

      I will email you a copy of those “I Am” statements as well. Just so you know, I have also made available a downloadable PDF of the “I Am” statements in the resource section of this sermon, and to the “Crap Happens” sermon series page!

      Reply

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