I have no special gifts, and I mess up all the time. Does God really need me?
On the Last Day, Jesus will say to us, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:34-36).
The things God cherishes
Do not miss the kinds of things Jesus noticed. He doesn’t say, “For you gave millions of dollars to the poor and you started a charity and you volunteered 40 hours a week at church.” No, he points to providing food, giving drink, and helping the sick. We often do these things for our families. These acts are so ordinary that we think them mundane, but there is nothing mundane in the service of Christians.
Our Christian lives do not go unnoticed by our Savior. Whatever we do as Christians matters!
The things God removes
Now notice what’s missing from Jesus’ list on the Last Day: your sin. For the believer, all the imperfections in those actions have been washed away! All that remains is the good done out of love for Jesus.
Sadly, sin even hides in every good work we do. In speaking of justifying ourselves before God, Isaiah the prophet said, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Even the good things we do are not perfect on their own. But because Jesus has removed the sin, our works done out of love for Jesus are beautiful to him.
When kids are young, they go through the stage of drawing people with stick legs and arms. Parents consider those drawings precious. But how good are they, really? Yet, when presented with the picture, every parent will say, “It’s beautiful!” Are they lying? Not at all. The picture was drawn out of love. The only gallery that matters is the one on the front of the refrigerator.
The same is true for our Father in heaven. When we ask on the Last Day, “When did we do all of those things for you? We really didn’t do anything special,” we will hear Jesus respond, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these . . . you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
The things God accomplishes
You might ask, “Why does God even need me?” Just remember he chooses to use you in whatever callings you find yourself to do his great work. Philippians 1:4-6 says, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
There is a story about the great painter Rembrandt. It’s thought that he wasn’t the primary painter of some of the works attributed to him. Instead, his apprentices would paint them. Then Rembrandt would come with his genius and add this and tweak that and turn it into a great work. One of his assistants asked, “Why do you even need me?” He apparently answered, “Because I treasure your work, and I can make it great.” Know that your Savior treasures your work, and he can make it great!
Have a question, ask it here!
Author: David Scharf
Volume 109, Number 11
Issue: November 2022
- Q&A: Is anger sinful? - 2023/05/31
- Q&A: How can parents encourage adult children who wander from the faith? - 2023/04/30
- Q&A: Does the doxology belong in the Lord’s Prayer? - 2023/03/31