But then I remind myself that life is not all about me and my gifts. It’s about him, the one who gives me those gifts in the first place. If I never get to write a book again and have to do something entirely different, that’s up to him — and it’s OK. He knows what he’s doing. I can trust him.

And let’s be honest: God doesn’t need me or my gifts. And heaven won’t be a better place because of them, except insofar as they point to his grace. Though I’m precious in God’s sight, which Christ proved by dying on the Cross for me, when it comes to my gifts, I’m very replaceable. Just as he could raise up children for Abraham from the stones, so he could raise up a monkey to do what I do — and at a lower hourly rate!

Peter’s business card would have said “Fisherman” below his name. Fishing was what he did; it was what he was good at. Once, however, ­­­Peter and some of the other fishermen had been out all night without catching so much as a minnow. What would they say to their wives and significant others? Then Jesus shows up and tells Peter to let down his nets again. Peter, the fishing expert, humors this amateur — and is astonished when his nets start snapping, and the boats begin sinking. Jesus is about to show Peter the meaning of the word “fishing”! No, the Lord’s not impressed by the experience and skills laid out in our resumes. As Paul said, “What do you have that you did not receive?”

The New Testament tells us that God will reward his faithful servants with crowns. I like rewards! I love crowns! But when I turn to Revelation, I see God’s servants doing something strange with those crowns. They’re not wearing them; they’re casting them at his feet!

No matter what my CV says, whatever the successes or failures in my life, ultimately it’s all going back to him. The only thing that matters, that has surpassing worth, is gaining Christ. 

Stan Guthrie, a Christianity Today editor at large, is author of All That Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us and coauthor of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Stan blogs at http://stanguthrie.com/blog.

Publication date: November 12, 2012