One of our deepest needs is to feel secure. We want to be valued—to know that our lives matter. Many pastors get into ministry for that very reason. We’re searching for significance.
The problem is, many of us search for significance in all the wrong places. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to other pastors. We’re quietly asking ourselves (and others!) if we preach better, if we’re better leaders, and if we’re more likable than other leaders we read about and listen to.
Inevitably, this leads to insecurity.
God wants all of us, but particularly leaders, to be secure in his love for us. Our only foundation for self-esteem and feeling good about ourselves is understanding how much we matter to God.
Here are three truths about how much each of us matters to God.
1. No matter how small you are, Jesus notices you.
I’ve heard from many pastors through the years who feel invisible. They don’t have a large church or a book contract. No one is asking them to speak at conferences. They mistakenly feel like no one sees them and their ministry doesn’t matter.
But God knows who you are, and he’s paying attention to how you’re serving him. From the moment you took your first breath, he had his eye on you. You’ve never preached a sermon that surprised him. You’ve never served someone in his name where he hasn’t cheered you on.
God knows every detail of your life, from beginning to end. He has heard every criticism that’s been leveled against you in the past or that will be expressed in the future.
Jesus told us, “God never overlooks a single [sparrow]. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head!” (Luke 12:6- 7 MSG).
The greatest way anyone can show us love is by paying attention to us. God shows incredible attention to every detail of our lives.
2. No matter who ignores you, Jesus knows you.
Sometimes it feels like no one is listening to us. How many sermons have you preached only to see people struggle to live it out the next week? How many marriage counseling sessions have you led, only to find the couple divorced a month later?
Sometimes it feels like you’re just talking to the wind. But Jesus hears you. To him, you’re unforgettable.
The Bible says, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16 NLT).
A mother won’t ignore her nursing child. Neither will God forget about you, no matter how forgotten you feel some days. The God of the universe has your name written on his palms.Reflect on that the next time you preach a sermon and feel like no one is listening.
3. No matter what you’ve done, Jesus wants you.
You are ashamed of some things in your life. All of us are—pastors included! We don’t measure up to our standards—or our congregations’—much less God’s standards.
I know many pastors who are deeply afraid of people finding out something about their past. They spend a lot of energy hiding it and praying no one ever finds out. Jesus knows everything you’ve ever done, and he loves you.
Jesus is interested in changing you, not condemning you.
The Bible reminds us of this in John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (NIV).
You may have preached that a million times, but that truth isn’t just for the man or woman in the pew. It’s for you, too. Preach it to yourself.
Pastor, may you always remember how much you matter to God—and how he wants to use you for his glory in this world.