After reading some recent blog entries from Kathy & Steve... I have realized that so many churches, so many of us individually as part of the body of Christ have adopted the world's definitions of value & success.
I spent my childhood & adolescence trying to learn & believe that I somehow deserved the Savior coming to rescue me. Trying to really 'get' that I somehow deserved the grace He was willing to give.... only to find out I didn't.
I don't deserve His grace. I can't earn it. I didn't earn it. He is just that awesome. He is just that merciful and wants me (us) to be united with Him despite our failings. I am just that valuable because He created me and He loves me. I am valuable because of His love. I am valuable because of His all emcompassing love that is never changing yet has the power to change & create each of us. We failed to live up to His holiness but despite that He still saw and knew our worth as His creations when we were at our rock bottom. We were worth saving because His love is that unbelievable.
When we find out that He sent a Savior for us, the importance and love He makes us feel is ridiculous. But do we ever get past ourselves and do we ever truly learn how unimportant we are by ourselves? So many never get over themselves and never stop trying to find worth in themselves, their roles, 'their' successes & significance. Our worth is in Him, His love alone.
So many are grasping for importance and value in THINGS in ROLES, in worldly success...
Only when we realize that we are not important without Him and without the rest of the body - do we really start being who we were meant to be.
Tasks do not give us value.
Roles do not give us meaning.
Worldy praise does not give us importance.
Being busy is not significance.
Productivity does not make us more important than others.
These are some things He has been laying on my heart that I really believe to be true. Only when we realize this can we truly love others without conditions.
No matter what we DO - we are no more valuable than the person next to us in the Body of Christ.
Only when we stop measuring life with our eyes & ears & senses --- can we begin to truly love others. Only when we learn to take away all judgements, scales, comparisons, etc.... will we learn how valuable others are.
When we finally rid ourselves of these conditions, scales, comparisons... we will learn to value the elderly as much as young trendy popular evangelists. Stay at home moms as much as famous worship leaders. New believers as much as seasoned. A member in a very small old church as much as missionaries.
God is who gives us value. He will use anybody to achieve His purposes. I believe that in His plan, the people who He uses would understand they are poor in Spirit and that their usability can be judged in Heaven alone.... but what usually happens is we get prideful and allow people to put us on a pedestal. We begin to believe we are better than others because He is using us. We try to live up to the perfection the people want us to be.... or at least present a perfect godly person like the people want us to be.
And we as the crowd get so wrapped up in the PEOPLE He is using, creating idols of them and their productivity --- that we totally lose focus of God. Then when this famous christian collapses and their humanness is revealed --- we are left confused, devastated and doubtful.
My point is, how much God uses a person - isn't a good judgement of their value, spiritual maturity or godliness. He can and will use anybody for His good.
I don't believe that spiritual maturity can really accurately be judged on earth. Why do we continually try to put people on different levels of success? My point of all this.... is that "results" - whatever scale you use to judge results - are not always accurate reflections of motives & results are never reflections of value.
Ultimately, the only One who can ever get credit for any work done is God.
Our focus should not be results. Our focus shouldn't be on judging each other's usability for the kingdom. Our focus shouldn't be trying to be valuable.... our focus should be God, putting Him first. And next others - putting them second, above ourselves. When we say putting "others" first... Others doesn't mean popular preachers, famous worship leaders.... others means those around you. Do you give your time and focus only to people who are valuable in the world's eyes --- or do you give your time and focus to those around you who are in need?
Do you value people because they make you feel important? Do you value them because of what they can do for you? Do you value them because they are on your "to help" list? People will be able to tell when they are on your list. Nobody wants to be a number. The mission is not about blowing through people as fast as we can and trying to save as many people as we can. The whole "the person who brings the most with them, wins" mentality --- I don't agree with that. WE do NOT have any power to save. And focusing on numbers only brings comparison & pride or discouragement based on who you compare your numbers to.
More on numbers & growth tomorrow....