Tag Archives: value

The Whole Person

Yesterday, I participated in something with my younger son that I haven’t done in a long time. I was a driver for his church youth group. We went to a city about two hours away from my home to volunteer for the day. I ended up staying with the young people to work, and it was eye-opening. It took me back to my college days when I went on mission trips with my Baptist Student Union group. Those were good times when I wasn’t quite as beaten down by life as I am now. I was excited to share about Jesus’ love and do the things He was calling me to do. It didn’t bother me to be put in a place where I was uncomfortable. I’m a generation removed from that time now so staying “comfortable” is more important to me. It shouldn’t be, but it is.

God blessed me yesterday though with this opportunity and brought up questions I want to explore. The place we went to was a place that believed in the value of the whole person–not just spiritually–but physically, mentally, and emotionally. It was a school with a neighborhood next to it, a ministry that offered support to the families who lived there. It was a place where love was poured out in buckets. It was a place which truly wanted and believed in the success of the people who lived there. It was NOT a place to get notches for converting people to Jesus and then leaving them alone in their circumstances.

I worked, I sweated, I prayed, I worshiped, I played, I did things I didn’t think I could do, but most of all, I laughed. They were my brothers and sisters in Christ, and there were no differences between us. My son’s youth group, their leaders, and I cleaned up the yard of one of the homes in the neighborhood. We also played with the children who were being cared for while their parents worked and prayed over two homes. It was a good experience for me, and one God wanted me to have.

But, it made me wonder about something, actually, several somethings. Why don’t we, as Christians, care about the success of other people? Why do we just want to put up notches of how many people we’ve converted to Jesus and move on? Why are we not willing to put our money where our mouth is? And why do we treat people badly if they can’t contribute to our own success? I don’t have answers other than to say we live in a selfish and sinful world that causes God to weep. And I think, maybe, that might be the reason God causes some of us to go through bad experiences so that we will have a “heart” for people who society doesn’t care anything about.

I also think God wants us to be authentic with one another like I’ve talked about before. We are all sons and daughters of God, and our worth shouldn’t be determined by how much we have, what we look like, or how well we can put up shields. It shouldn’t be tied up in whether people think we are “asking for a handout” or not. We should be able to live in community with one another and see each other with Jesus’ eyes like I saw yesterday on my trip.

I pray we can all see the value and worth of each person like Jesus sees them.

Praying God’s blessings on all of you today!

 

Reconciling Our Relationships with People with Our Relationship with God

In my last post, I talked about how I had trouble finding value in God and in God alone. Refer to this link, http://wp.me/p4LK9Q-4N, if you missed the post. Today, I’m going to talk about how God still wants us to have relationships with people even though we are all messed up and broken.

This one is a real struggle for me. I could easily spend an hour or two or more praying, reading Scripture, singing worship songs out-loud (much to the chagrin of my kids), or just meditating on God’s goodness. Then, I would be happy and satisfied in how I was practicing my faith and wouldn’t feel like I needed to do anymore. Why should I worship with other people when all we do is mess each other up?

But, that’s not what God calls us to do. He calls us to find value in each other as well as finding value in Him and in Him alone. A dichotomy, right? A dichotomy that I have so much trouble understanding. And because I have trouble understanding it, I have trouble fulfilling it. I have trouble being vulnerable and real with people because of the fear of rejection. I have gone to the cross by myself more often than not because I knew I would not be rejected by God where I might be rejected by other people. Silly, right? But, fear is one of my big issues too. Fear of not being valued and supported by other people.

Once more though, there are examples in Scripture that state we are to worship in community. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Another example would be from Acts 2:46 – 47. “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

And finally, from Hebrews 10:25. “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit  of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Some of you would say that these examples are from the first century and not really relevant to today. I would disagree. God calls the people who are believers to worship in community and be vulnerable with each other in community. We don’t want to be vulnerable though. We want to come to church, put in our time, and leave.  We put up our shields and won’t let them down. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be in a community where I feel comfortable being vulnerable and where others feel comfortable being vulnerable with me.

One of my prayers in 2016 will be that I get to a point where I understand this dichotomy of finding my value in God and in God alone while deepening my relationships with other people.

God’s blessings on you today!

Getting Our Value from God and from God Alone

There’s no escaping it. We are all messed up and broken people. Messed up and broken people in relationships with people who are also messed up and broken, and none of this will be fixed until we are with heaven with God and with Jesus. That is the place where there will be perfection. Not here on Earth. Not here on a world messed up and broken by sin. I think that is the reason a lot of us can’t see our value and our worth in God. We don’t think we deserve it. I know I don’t deserve it.

This is where grace comes in. Grace is part of the title of this blog, and the verses from Ephesians at the top are also about grace. I’ll repeat them here so I will be able to reference as I type. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works so that no one can boast.” I look at these verses, and I read them, but then, they don’t permeate my being the way they should. I still try to get my value from other people–members of my family, my church family, my friends, my possessions, the plans I have for my life. Ouch, those last two hurt! Because, you see, when we, who are Christians, ask God into our hearts, we’re not supposed to do that. We’re supposed to let God have the rudder, let Him be in control of our lives.

My pastor had some interesting things to say about this on Sunday. He spoke of a “game” called theopoly (Yes, this is a made-up word.) where people try to set their own agenda, make money their bottom line, attempt to secure their own futures, and brag about their own successes. Ouch, again! Even we, as Christians, struggle with this. And, if don’t have the money we think we should have, we worry about not having enough.

That’s not what God wants for us though and to live in the way I just stated, ignores some fundamental rules of life which, if you’re going to play this game, cannot be relevant to your life. Number one–life is fleeting. Number two–God has power over life.  And number three–in God’s book, if you’re going to win, you need to lose.

This is aptly demonstrated in Scripture. Matthew 20: 26 – 28 says, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Another reference is from Matthew 23:11-12. “The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I understand all of this, and I’m trying to live my life this way. My problem though, for the last little while, has been understanding that my value is in Christ alone. Not through my husband, not through my children, not through my church family, not through anyone in my life. Only in Christ! So, this week I’m going to do several posts reconciling all of that and trying to figure it out because, you see, for a while, I’ve felt out-of-place and out-of-sync with my faith. God wants me to be brave and step outside of my shell and using this small platform that I have is going to be my way to do exactly that.

God’s blessings on you today!