I am a big baseball fan. More specifically I am a Cubs fan, which incidentally also identifies me as a masochist, but I digress. I try to keep up with the current news in baseball and what not, especially during the off-season as teams are busy trying to make trades and sign players that would help their team.
Recently, I read where a team had signed a particular player. At first glance, I wasn’t sure why this team would sign this guy. His offensive numbers were mediocre at best, defense was average, the team didn’t have a need at his position and he wasn’t even left-handed, which usually gives some players a leg up. So I wondered why they’d take the guy. As I read the article, the coach of the team clearly stated why. This guy was a veteran. He had been in the bigs for some time and he had been on winning teams. They had a young team and they needed a mature presence in the clubhouse. It wasn’t about what this guy would bring to the team on the actual playing field. It was about who he was and the presence he brought to the team in the dugout. It was more about WHO he was than WHAT he could do.
The longer I have been in ministry(and a follower of Christ) the more convinced I am that God operates on similar principles. I have seen it time and time again in my life and in so many others.
I am a reclamation project. Not an MVP. God doesn’t need my performance. He is not dependent on me…or anything else outside of Himself. Sure, He chooses to use me (us) to accomplish His will, but I think He is much more concerned with who I am than on what I can do for Him.
On top of that my presence, apart from His presence, doesn’t bring much to the team either. It is His presence in us that allows any productive ministry to take place in the first place!
I have spent most of my adult life “working hard for Jesus”! I don’t necessarily regret that. But I do regret that so often in my life my spirituality has centered around my “doing”. I have often been over identified with my works, roles, positions, etc. I have came to the realization in my life that it is unhealthy to primarily focus on doing things for God. Underneath all of that drive there is often a mixture of noble God-loving reasons and a self-centered need for approval.
What I think we need to come to see, is that we are already approved of by God. He can’t love us any more than He already does. There are no more hoops to jump through to earn His affection and my sense of identity, purpose and value is not found in the things I do for Him. My value and identity is to be simply tied to the presence of Christ in my life. He is my satisfaction and daily experiencing His grace should be my over-arching goal. When who I am in Christ and my soul’s relationship to Him is my primary focus, then I will be engaged in ministry in a balanced and healthy way. It will be joy.
It is quite a freedom to know that I don’t have to be the MVP. Our team already has one. I just need to show up with my presence.
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us”- (Acts 17:24-27 ESV)