This word and all of its synonyms was the one I chose to eliminate.  God does not consider anyone insignificant.  Nor does God trivialize the ministries that the baptized are called to do, no matter how simple or small they seem. But by the world’s standards the ministries God has called me to are scoffed at as insignificant because they do not bring in money, they do not involve or effect large numbers of people and they are done quietly. When I listen to the world’s condemnation of these ministries I begin to doubt myself and my call. I stop doing these ministries. Then I begin to feel guilty because I am not serving God as I should.  It becomes a circle of despair. When eliminating these words and substituting words like significant, God given and important I become strengthened to continue ministering.



The great German Jewish theologian, Martin Buber, reminds us that words reflect attitudes about others.  “In the beginning was the relation,” he says.  The struggle for some of us (at least for me) is to treat the other more often as a Thou and not unconsciously as an It.  To help that, I gave up using the word “I” to start a conversation and to really focus on the other:  How are You?  How is Your family?  How are You doing lately?  Too often I unconsciously engage in this polite conversation not really out of interest in the other, but out of social propriety.  The gift of the other — their Thou-ness — is missed when that happens.  What a loss!  What an expansion to really focus on the other as Thou and throw propriety to the wind!

Hal, CT