Important Gentleman walking through a skyscraper

What Makes a Person Important?

Robert McCloskey is one of my favorite children’s book authors. I was reading one of his books to my children and my husband questioned, “What really makes a person important?” Along came an interesting conversation with the children. It got me to thinking. In this day of self-help and self-esteem, what exactly would be the definition of “importance” when it comes to describing a person? What sort of people should we hold in high regard?

It boils down to your worldview. Let’s look at McCloskey’s book, Lentil, as an example. I won’t tell you the entire story, but here is a synopsis.

A little boy has a harmonica and he practices all the time. One day, the town is all in a tizzy because Colonel Carter is coming back to his home. Colonel Carter has paid for many of the buildings in the town and the people plan on giving him a hero’s welcome. But there is one person who doesn’t think the Colonel should receive all of the hoopla. Finally the day arrives and this important man steps off the train. Something unplanned happens and the boy ends up saving the day. {You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens!}


The town considers the Colonel to be a very important man mainly because he has used his exorbitant amount of money to build public buildings for the townspeople. The book doesn’t really mention what sort of person he is, or how he received his money. In fact, at one moment the Colonel is depicted as being slightly persnickety.

So do we teach our kids that having a lot of money and having buildings named after us is the way to becoming important in society? Perhaps the world would have us think this way, but what does scripture tell us?

But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me. ~ Philippians 2:25-30 {Highlights are mine.}

“Close to death for the work of Christ.”

“Hold men like him in high regard.”

These words transport me to Hebrews 11 where men and women of God are listed for their faith. Those names are from the Old Testament, but I wonder if the writer of Hebrews was thinking of men and women of God in his day as well when he wrote:

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. ~~ Hebrews 11:32-38 {Highlights are mine}

“Men of whom the world was not worthy.” That sounds like they were extremely important.

The world would have us view importance by money, status, number of friends, type of car, whether you are a college football booster or not. But we homeschoolers know all of this.


Don’t we?

Do we compare our children to other homeschooled children? Do we hope our child’s science project out performs the others in the co-op? Do we pride ourselves on how many credits our high schoolers earn before college? Are we jealous when someone’s child decides to go into the mission field and ours do not?

What makes a person important?

Jesus does.

All of these people listed in scripture were willing to be used of God. They were willing to do what it took to spread the name of Jesus. They risked their lives. They gave everything they had to serve their Master.

I want my children to consider themselves important. Not because of who they are or what they do, but because Jesus dwells inside of them. We are important enough for the God of the Universe to choose to take up residency in our being.

And if He lives in us, then anything we do for Him makes us important.

ANNE MARIE is an Austenite and the author of the blog FUTURE.FLYING.SAUCERS. She is a southern belle who is married to her Mr. Darcy. They have three of the silliest children in South Carolina. Anne Marie has a passion for Bible study and teaching the Word to adults and children. On Wednesday nights you will find her teaching Biblical concepts to Awana clubs at her church. All of her AWANA AND BIBLE LESSONS can be found for FREE on her blog. You can also find her on FACEBOOK.