“But I’m only a ______”: Why Your Place in the World Matters. Greatly.

Posted on May 29, 2013 | 4 comments

“But I’m only a ______”: Why Your Place in the World Matters. Greatly.

I’ve heard about these guys all my life. They were part of something incredible, something in the works for an eternity before they were even born. They were humble men, just doing their job, simply keeping watch.

And because of their faithfulness to do the simple job before them, they were part of a miracle.

They were shepherds, you see. Called “only” to tend the livestock. One night, while tending, an angel appeared to them, bringing words that led them to the Savior.

Oh, you know them too? I thought you might. So perhaps you, unlike me, understood this long ago. But for some reason, it didn’t sink in for me until last week.


Here’s the thing: What if these men had decided being a shepherd wasn’t enough? What if they didn’t show up for work that night, because they didn’t think their work mattered? Or they called it quits because they were tired, or cold, or weary?

But they hadn’t quit, as far as we can tell. They’d continued to show up, faithfully tend, and live humbly in order to do it. And because they gave their all to the “merely,” they were there for the miracle God had planned for them:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over the flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-11

They were “only” called to be shepherds.

…Just as someone who was “only” a builder constructed that stable, that trough. Did they know they were really creating the most beautiful of cathedrals—the one the Savior would be born into?

…Just as someone who was “only” a government official called for the census, which would bring Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Did they know they were pivotal in the greatest story ever told?

Let us not forsake the sacred ordinary—the things we’ve actually been called to in our lives– to strive for a contrived greatness.

Because it boils down to this: If God called you to it, it can not get any greater. What could be greater than serving the King who gave us everything? Wherever that service might take place.

So often, it is in the ordinary that the miraculous transpires.

He meets us in our obedience. He accomplishes great things there… miraculous things.

What is your “only” calling? Sometimes we look at our days and we think “I’m only a _______. What can God do with me?” Turn your eyes upon Jesus, my friend. He made your “only” calling with such care, such love…and such incredible purpose.


  1. Right to my heart! Thank you, my girl.

    • If there’s anyone whose life is testament to the daily miraculous, it’s yours, and that fellow you married, too. 🙂 Love you guys.

  2. I felt called to teach engineering, until it all ended on a horrible day in Spring, 2011.

    What do you do when your place in the world summarily rejects you, forevermore?

    I’ve learned that where I am, what I’m doing, deserves my best efforts, no matter what it is. The rest I commend to the Almighty.

    And I hope it’s enough.

    • We can only do what he places directly in front of us… you are wise to give your best efforts to what work lies before you now. Anything done unto Him, according to His word, His plan, is not done in vain.