Back in the early 80s my family and I got to be part of a church plant in upstate New York. We were called to the town of Cortland, about forty minutes south of Syracuse, to be the first on site minister and family for the Cortland Valley Church of Christ. The preliminary event to receiving the call to go there was a two week visit in early 1980. During that time I got to stay with a dear friend, Barton Howard, the former minister of my home church and the man who baptized me into Christ. I have a long history with his family as I used to be their babysitter while they were in Jeffersonville, Ohio, my home town.

Barton has always been a very hands-on kind of guy. If something was broken he would try to fix it and usually did a pretty good job of it. He was working on one of his rooms to his house while I was there and I helped him. He had a piece of wallboard he was wanting to hang and ask me to hold it in place. I did so while he drove a nail through the wallboard and into the stud behind it. He then said, "You can let go now, Tom." When I did, his next remark almost floored me. He asked, "How does it feel to be replaced by a two cent piece of steel?"

That has hung with me all my life and has helped me to deal with the ins and outs of the ministry. No matter how well you're doing, no matter what you're holding in place for a congregation, you can be replaced. This begs the question, "Just how important am I?" That question comes to mind a lot for me while I am driving when I see people driving the wrong direction down the lane of a parking lot, or parked in a no parking area, or parked in a handicap only parking place with no handicap sticker. How much more important than the rest of us are those people if they feel that they can do, and have the right to do, those things?

In God's eyes we have importance. However, that importance only goes so far. Just ask Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-7), Onan (Genesis 38:8-10) and Korah and his followers (Leviticus 17:15-35). All of these thought that they were just important enough for God to bend the rules that He had put in place to govern His people. All died by God's action. They did not think that what God had called them to was important enough. Let's take a long hard look at our feelings about our own importance as it relates to God and His desire for the church.

Do we attend the church's worship services (Hebrews 10:24,25); give cheerfully and liberally to the church (2 Corinthians 9:6-11); express ourselves through joy, prayer, thanksgiving, surrender to the Spirit and every good work (2 Thessalonians 5:16-22); and diligently invest ourselves in the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15) just to name a few? If we don't, how important are we to God? The things listed above are those things that are expected of Christians. If we are not actively involved in doing those things, did God waste the blood of His Son on us? After all, isn't it the blood of Christ that makes us important to God in the first place?