I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Before I committed my life to Jesus Christ I was the starring role in the drama that was my life. But like Paul, I’ve understood that when I was in the spotlight, everything I was doing was against the Lord. “I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor.” But when I stepped out of the spotlight, He shined and showed me grace and mercy. And then He gave me a specific role. A special role. He considered me faithful and put me into His service. He gave me purpose.
He’s given us all one role to play. Just one. You can take a sigh of relief. You don’t have to fit a million different shoes. Or act like you are good at everything. You just have one role – to submit to Him, so that “Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” Knowing we only have one role to play means we can have confidence and steadfastness in our purpose. I play a background role for a specific purpose – to be more like Him, to bring more to Him. We may not know the details of what God has called us to do, but that’s the beauty of having a Master. We follow Him. We serve Him. We obey Him. And we love Him. We don’t ask questions. We just follow. In return, He takes care of us (which is an understatement.)
But how realistic is it to follow Him? There’s gods at war fighting for our attention and affection constantly. Kyle Idleman writes in his book, gods at war, “God declines to sit atop an organizational flowchart. He is the organization. He is not interested in being president of the board. He is the board. And life doesn’t work until everyone else sitting around the table in the boardroom of your heart is fired. He is God, and there are no other applicants for that position. There are no partial gods, no honorary gods, no interim gods, no assistants to the regional gods.” YOU are not fit for the position the Lord fills. For Jesus’ disciples it meant leaving their lives behind. It meant living life with Christ. Not on and off, but daily. Jesus clearly tells His disciples, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master” (Matthew 10:24-25a). Being His disciple means complete devotion to whatever He has called us to do. It means complete submission to His authority as Lord of our lives.
I play my one, special role knowing that God is the creator of the ends of the earth. His understanding is inscrutable. The second I start to think of all the things I deserve I just have to look up at the sky (sounds silly, but try it!). I spend a lot of time driving. A lot of mornings I see the rising sun. And a lot of evenings I see the sun as it sets. The clouds are absolutely stunning during these times. There’s no way you can look into the sky and think that you are the leading role in your life. He makes the sun rise and set. He makes the stars shine and paints a beautiful scene with the clouds. He makes whatever I’m worrying about fade quickly because He makes me see that I, along with the rest of the universe, am in the palm of His hand. Knowing how small I am brings me back to what He did for me and who He is to the universe. He is awesome. If He can control all of creation, He can definitely control my life.
There’s a distinct difference in a life with Christ and a life without Christ. You’re either in the spotlight or you’re in the background. There can’t be a day where you play lead and then a day when you play a supporting role. When Jesus is Lord of your life, HE sits on the throne. You don’t. He’s not only the Creator and sustainer of this world, but He is the God who died and rose again for you and me. He has given you a mission here and has given you worth. He’s given you a super special role that only you can fulfill. He’s considered you faithful.
The Lord wants you to choose Him. If you ever doubt the truth that He has called you to His service, remember what He did for you. And choose wisely.