In the early 1960s John F. Kennedy visited the space center at Cape Canaveral to see how the United States was doing in the space race against the Soviet Union. Legend has it that Kennedy was able to get away from the press and walked down a hallway where he saw a man carrying a mop and bucket. The president inquired about what the man was doing. The custodian replied, “I am helping put a man on the moon.”
Wouldn’t it be remarkable if every Christian viewed their life with such importance? The reality is that each Christian has been purchased with the blood of Christ (1 Pet 1:19). Every Christian has been brought from death to life in Jesus (Jn 5:24) and is equipped by the very Spirit of God (Acts 1:8). In light of this, every follower of Christ can see that they matter. Because of Christ’s work, every member of the body of Christ matters, regardless of how small or insignificant their lives may seem. David Platt speaks on this theme from the perspective of Nehemiah 11:19:
“The gatekeepers Akkub, Talmon, and their brothers who kept watch at the gates, were 172.”
Now that may not seem like the most inspiring verse of Scripture you’ve ever read or heard, but this is what Nehemiah 11 is all about. It’s got a list of people’s names and what they did: priests, Levites, chiefs of the province. Verse 19 in particular: “The gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon, and their brothers who kept watch at the gates,” and it says there were 172 of them. Every single one of them matters. Every single one of them is important. I love this chapter of Scripture.
This is the kind of chapter, when you’re reading through the Bible, that you often skip over, thinking, “Oh, it’s just a bunch of names. I don’t really know what this has to do with me.”
It has everything to do with us. To realize that every name here is important—God made sure that every name, all these different names, were written down. The numbers were written down. Each person among the people of God was playing a particular part.
I just want to encourage you: God knows your name. How does he know your name? Think about pictures that we see in Scripture, like Jesus saying he knows the number of hairs on your head. They are numbered (Matt 10:30). He knows how many there are. He’s numbered all of them. He knows which one is number 387. He knows us intimately, and he loves us. Every one of our lives counts before him.
I think if we’re not careful, we can miss this. We can see the world around us, even the church around us, and just think, “Oh yeah, I’m just another person. I don’t really know what I can do. I see this person and that person with their gifts, their skills, and how God is using them. I just don’t think I am being used by God to do that much, but I’ll do a little here or there.”
Don’t underestimate for a second what God desires to do in your life on a daily basis, what he wants to use your life to do in ways far beyond what you could ask or imagine (Eph 3:20). Your life counts before almighty God. He knows you. He loves you. Just receive this, where you’re sitting, listening to this. He loves you. He knows your name. He’s called you by name. You belong to him. Your life is in his hands. He is leading, guiding, directing you. He wants you to know and enjoy Him, and He wants to use your life to make his glory known in others’ lives.
Doesn’t it just cause us to pray . . .
Oh God, thank you. Thank you for your love for me. Thank you for your love for each person that is listening to this right now. How you have given meaning and significance to our lives. Jesus you died on the cross, not just for the nations. Yes for the nations, but you died on the cross for us, each of us. You died on the cross for me. You died on the cross for individual people that are listening to this right now. You love them so much. Our hairs are numbered on our heads. God, you know every detail about us. We just praise you for your love for us. We do pray, oh God, make our lives, cause our lives to count for your kingdom in whatever way you will. In our lives, in our families, in our neighborhoods, the places where we live, the places where we work and play, and where you lead us in the world.
God we pray that you would use our lives however you want, each of us, for your glory. We all want to play a part in making your glory known in the world through our praying and our living and our giving and our going and our walking with you. God please use us to make your glory known. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For your love for each of us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.