Created to Be (Part 1)
Created to Be
When we think about what it means to be the church, our minds usually race first to buildings, programs, or organizational structures. As pastors we may think of sermons to prepare, budgets to develop, visits to make, lessons to write, agendas to follow, expectations to live up to. It is possible that our kingdom service is little more than servitude to the expedient rather than obedience to the Spirit of God. Unquestionably we are called to action for the sake of the kingdom (Matt 7:21 and Eph 2:10 immediately come to mind). Yet our first calling is not to doing something for the Lord but to being in intimate relationship with the Lord through faith in Jesus Christ. When we begin to think relationally about the kingdom, we think first of who we are, not what we do. And there we come face-to-face with the power of the kingdom. We were created by God and for God.
For by him all things were created….all things were created by him and for him.
—Colossians 1:16 NIV1984
. . .created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
—Ephesians 4:24 NIV1984
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
—Genesis 1:27 NIV1984
We were created to be in intimate relationship with our Creator and Sustainer. Our value and worth is not determined by our position or power or performance. The One who created us loves us dearly and has provided all that we need to live in that divine intimacy. From the opening pages of Scripture we are confronted with the loving God who makes and gives and sustains, who is deeply involved in creation. Time after time we are reminded that it is God who makes of kingdom people much more than they could ever make of themselves. (See Gen 2:7–8; 12: 2; 32:9; 48:14; Deut 9:14; Isa 49:6; Matt 4:19; God says in a variety of settings, “I will make you…”) Paul reminds us that those who are to lead the church do so not by their own choosing but by the creative gifting of God: “It was he who gave some to be. . .” (Eph 4:11 NIV1984). Our giftedness for life and ministry is not first about a role or position or activity but rather about an intimate relationship with the Giver and with those others whom the Lord has given to be.
So who are you? What gives your life meaning and purpose? Rather than listening to the world, listen to the Word of God. There we discover an identity and meaning and value and purpose to which nothing in the world can compare! Sometimes even those of us who are pastors forget that. Never underestimate the beauty and value of your life. But never forget that it is God who provides that beauty and value!
Click here to read Created to Be (Part 2)
Paul Dreger has served the Church of God for thirty-six years, first as a pastor, then as an area administrator in Tennessee, and currently as national director of SHAPE (Sustaining Health and Pastoral Excellence).