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Infinitely Significant (published in The Tribune 10/1/11)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:16 PM by Fccea Webmaster
Joe was on his deathbed. But the aroma of his wife's strudel baking in the kitchen roused him. He asked daughter Mary to bring a sample of the pastry he had loved for 70 years. Mary soon returned -- empty handed. Joe asked, "Mary, where is the strudel?" Mary replied, "Mom says you can't have any. It's for after your funeral."

Sometimes the world has a way of making us feel insignificant, does it not? Life can beat us down.

We start with high hopes -- a sense of destiny and a confidence that we can, with determination and hard work, make a name for ourselves. Get to the top somehow. Leave a mark.

Then reality intrudes. A promising career stalls. Relationships sour or at least never quite deliver what we had hoped. Age and ill health sap us of energy and drive. Limitations impose themselves from every direction.

We begin to question what we have really accomplished. Our family loves us, but they sort of "have to"! When we consider that we don't even know the names of our ancestors more than a couple of generations removed, we realize that it won't be long before we are equally forgotten. At best a name on a family tree. Insignificant.

We don't consider the one thing that gives extraordinary significance to every life ever lived. The Bible teaches that sin has rendered us, individually and as a race, a twisted remnant of what an omnipotent God originally created. Our brokenness is seen in the fact that we cannot even meet our own expectations of ourselves, let alone His holy standard.

Yet that same Creator became one with us and died for us to redeem us from our fallen condition.

Try to absorb that! God died for you and me. The mind can hardly compute it. That one act alone assigns infinite worth to every life. God has put a value on each of us that is through the roof -- incalculable.

Josh McDowell, one of today's leading Christian apologists, tells how he became a Christian during his college years. He was a skeptic, and some Christian friends challenged him to disprove the claims of Christianity. He dedicated months to the task, doing research that later became the basis for his groundbreaking book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. He became a convinced believer.

He was asked once by a student at a university where he was speaking why he had not been able to intellectually refute Christianity. He replied, "For a very simple reason. I was not able to explain away an event in history -- the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

But McDowell went on to clarify that it was not the evidence he compiled that led to his commitment to Christ. "All it did was get my attention," he explained. "It was kind of like I slammed the door on God, and God put His foot in the door to get my attention." He began to check out the message of the Bible, and he found Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness."

McDowell comments on the impact of that verse: "What brought me to Christ was the love of God, not the evidence. The evidence showed me what was true. What motivated my belief was the realization I had that Saturday night in my dorm room: If I were the only person alive, Jesus would still have died for me. That's what brought me to Christ.

Imagine! If you were the only person alive, Jesus would have died for you. That demonstrates beyond doubt your significance to Him. The question is: have you made Him significant to you by acknowledging and accepting His gift of eternal life?

Dave McNeff is pastor of the First Congregational Church of Eaton/Ault