Made to Matter

Have you ever helped someone out and all of a sudden felt good inside? You don’t have to believe in God to have these emotions. There is something about helping others that causes a certain reaction in all of our hearts that is undeniable. It is nearly universal.

But what is it? WHY do we feel good when we help other people? Does it simply feel right because it is human nature to be kind to your neighbor?

No. It is natural to be jealous, self centered, and greedy for power over others. If you want proof of this, try taking a toy away from a young child. It isn’t pretty, but it’s natural. No one told them to react in that way. However, this is just proof of how we are are all born imperfect sinners in need of a Savior.

Is it because we genuinely feel good about the happiness you caused the person we helped?

Partly. It does in fact usually bring us joy to see a person’s happy response to our helping action. Yet, this is not the root cause of that “good feeling”. It is more impactful than that.

Is it all just a pride thing?

A little bit. Let’s be honest with ourselves- pride is a sneaky sin that we often overlook. We can easily be proud of how useful we were to someone…or proud of how well we used our lives to mean something….which leads me to the greatest cause of that “good feeling”:

Purpose.

Here’s something important to realize: Regardless of following Jesus or believing in God, we all discover something about ourselves in the moments we are helpful. We discover that we are VALUABLE.

Know this also:

Once we DO something that seems to matter in this world, we feel like WE seem to matter.

Everyone in the world, whether they say it or not, wants to feel like they are worth something. And they usually feel that worth when making a difference for something greater than themselves- which brings me to my next question.

Where does purpose come from and why do we all seek it?

The answer is really just summed up in one sentence:

It comes from God because He made you to matter.  

That’s right. God made you. He MADE you to help others. He MADE you to provide assistance to those who need it. He MADE you to bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted. He MADE you to share the love of Jesus. He MADE you for a purpose. He MADE you to MATTER.

And He didn’t just make you. He made ALL of us. For one single purpose: to love everyone in hopes that everyone would love Jesus.

See, when you help someone, you are demonstrating God’s love. And God’s love through others is something that many people in this broken world do not experience on a daily basis. But yet, they all need it desperately. And YOU have the power to provide it! You can be the difference in someone’s day, week, month, year, life, and ultimately…their eternity.

However, you don’t have to believe in God to feel good about doing good. Yet, the very fact that you have this feeling is evidence that you are very much a product of His creation. If you really want proof of a living God, the answer lies in us all. Everyone on this earth is living, breathing, and visible confirmation that we mean something, want to mean something, and were MADE to mean something. The simple yet uncontainable desire to be valuable is what makes us all somehow the sameproving that we were all made by the same Creator. It is the one attribute that we ALL share. And it is also pure evidence of His fingerprints on each of our lives.

So it’s no wonder it feels good to help others- it’s our God-given purpose.

We were made to be difference makers and world changers for God.

But the real question is, will you be one of them?

No matter who you help or what you do in this world, there is only one action of love that truly matters. It’s called surrender. Love God so much that you let go and allow Him to take your life into His hands. It is by His will alone that we find the way in which He wants us to matter. And that’s what matters MOST.

The Cave of Comfort

There’s a cave that exists in everyone. It’s called the cave of comfort. It’s dark, dank, but oh so familiar. It feels safe from the storm raging outside. But what if there isn’t a storm outside anymore? Have you checked in a while what’s out there? We each have our own idea of the storm that awaits us when we leave our comfort zones. Often it revolves around fears and failures- or the two combined. But the truth is that Jesus does not want us living lives that are confined or contrived. He wants us to take chances and risks…do things out of pure bold faith that scare us. Doing the hard things in life takes faith. That’s why we like our caves. They are easy and convenient.

See, there’s a problem that exists heavily today. All too often, we start to have more faith in our comfort zones than Jesus. And our generation isn’t the first to do so. The Israelites of the Bible went through a period of hiding in caves themselves. As punishment for committing evils against God, He allowed them to become oppressed by the Midianites. To seek refuge from the oppression, the Israelites stayed within their caves and shelters. They even worshiped false idols as a means of managing their fears. God then decided that enough was enough. It was time for them to return to their true God, get out of those caves, and defeat their enemies. He decided to use Gideon to do it. However, like most of us when asked to leave our caves of comfort, Gideon had his doubts about God and what He wanted him to do:

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

-Judges 6:11-16

Aren’t these questions and rationalizations similar to our own when asked to do something bold and out of the ordinary? Something that scares us? Something we don’t understand? In our minds, we can easily come up with a thousand reasons NOT to do something. But when Jesus is in our hearts, there’s just one reason that we always should, and it is the same reason that God gave Gideon when he doubted himself: God is with us.

Gideon went on later to defeat the Midianites with only of the 300 men of the 32,000 he had ready for battle. Rather than let Israel win with many men and see it as their own victory, God made the victory impossibly achieved so that all would know God had a hand in it. Though Gideon was tentative at first, he ultimately was thankful in the end that he had made the decision to trust God and leave the safety of his hiding place.

With this in mind, have you ever considered that when you leave the safe darkness of the cave how you may encounter the light? It may hurt your eyes at first. It may be shocking and uncomfortable. Yet, with God, instead of melting in the spotlight, He gives us the ability to SHINE in it. Shine for Him. See, it has a purpose- leaving that happy comfort zone. It makes your faith stronger. It doesn’t take much to stay in the cave and worship false idols that temporarily satisfy. It takes FAITH to step out of your comfort zone. And as hard as it may be, taking that step is what often leads to much more: a LEAP of faith.

Sometimes we get so fixed in our ways that we forget to look for things out of the ordinary. We put together a strict schedule and stick to it. And that’s all that life becomes- a skeleton of ordered events in time. But what if we came out of our caves and realized that the storm that we thought was raging, is over? Jesus saved the world already, so it really is. So go out and touch the light. Touch His light. Do something spontaneous for God. Smile at that stranger. Make a meal for that family who could use the love. Take the time to write that letter or send that encouraging email. Tell someone how much you truly love them. Go on a mission trip.

You’ll find out quickly that the cave you once thought was giving you comfort, was actually just shielding you from the greatest comfort in the world: comfort in God’s love not bound to a location or situation…but to the unknown. His love is found everywhere and in everything. You just have to step out of your personal cave and find it.