Devotion: Non-Essential

What happens to you when you are deemed non-essential?

In an attempt to arrest the spread of the coronavirus, Mecklenburg County issued a stay-at-home order for all “non-essentials.” When I read through the entire document, I was surprised by the list of “essentials:” Doctors and Nurses (of course), but then it also included lawyers, landscapers, and beer distributors. Thankfully, though, I walked over to Starbucks and also discovered that baristas were also considered essential. Pastors, however, did not make the county’s list.*

So what happens to you when you find yourself listed as a non-essential?

Perhaps you have felt that in other areas of your life. Maybe your marriage has gone cold and your wife has called you no longer essential to her life. Maybe the children—who you spent nearly two decades raising—have moved on and no longer depend upon you. Maybe as your job gets furloughed, your boss is realizing that your work is not critical to the company’s success. In my conversations this week, I have discovered many of us feel “useless” in this situation. Men who are used to making things happen are having to stay home. People who want to help realize there is nothing practical they can do.

In order to become a person of significance, we must first recognize our insignificance.

Our insignificance magnifies God’s grace (Grace means “getting what you do not deserve”). By realizing we are insignificant to God’s grand-drama, we also notice that we were significant enough to Him that He would send us His Son to seek and save and show us the depth of His love for the insignificant. This makes His grace that much more impressive.

“For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:8-10

Our insignificance allows us to become significant. By realizing that we are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it actually frees us. We are free because the pressure of the world does not rest upon our shoulders. Freed from that pressure, we are now able to become significant through humble service to others. We become significant because we become vessels for Christ’s grace to reach someone else. As Galatians 2:20 reminds us–we no longer live but Christ lives through us–

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

So, if the county has deemed you non-essential, how are you now freed up to become essential into the life of one other person?

*this is not a feeble attempt to get people to email me telling me I’m special, that I’m good enough, and doggone it, people like me. Save the email and find someone else who may need that word of encouragement. Interestingly, Gov. Cooper thought pastors were essential, but the CLT Mayor…not so much.

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