So, I started out believing that I was pretty special. A gift to the kingdom of God. Playing an indispensable role in the Father’s story.

I was only off by 180 degrees.

In reality, God doesn’t need me to fulfill his plans. Never has. When I thought otherwise, I gave myself 110% to reaching the world with the gospel. After all, some people would never hear of God’s love if I didn’t tell them… At least, that’s what I believed.

I realized that I could not reach the world by myself; it would require a chain reaction. I would need to reach and disciple one person, who would turn around and do the same, and so on. People became projects to me. Cogs in a machine. A means to an end. I wanted to hear the “well done, good and faithful servant” when it was all over, so productivity was of the utmost importance. When deciding who to approach initially, it was normal to think in terms of who might turn out to have the most potential for making my pyramid scheme work. If a person that I was trying to disciple was not panning out, I was inclined to move on to someone who would not break my chain.

Mine was the furthest thing from the Shepherd’s mindset. You know, the One who would leave 99 to go after 1…

The truth is, no one else can take my place in the heart of the Father. No one else can love him on my behalf. There are myriads who can serve him and do the work that I do, but no one can bring a smile to his face quite the way I can. And that is not based upon my productivity.

When I am comfortable with that reality, I am freed to view others differently. No more utilitarianism. God loves me just because I exist; I can love others just because he does. That’s a whole new perspective on life and ministry.