Once again I find myself in a study that asks tough questions. Questions that involve real thought and reflection. I am working through these questions and want to share them with you. The first question I have pondered is
What do I value?
I value family and relationships. I value experiences and adventure. I value people.
Sunday lunch at our house growing up was rarely at any set time. We often had random people over, and sometimes things were very rushed. Because dad was a pastor the idea of leaving church any-time before 1:00 on a Sunday afternoon was kind of a pipe dream. There was always someone who needed to talk, or more often than not the chatting just got out of hand. This could be a good thing sometimes, because it gave my siblings and I time to run around inside the church exploring for the hundredth time every nook and cranny, or as we got older we were permitted to practice driving in the parking lot as we waited for dad to finish his conversations. “We are leaving in ten minutes” never actually meant ten minutes, it usually meant more like thirty.
I admit, sometimes this frustrated us. Especially when we had grand adventures planned for the afternoon. As I look back, I think of my mom and how, no matter how long we stayed at church she still had to get home and make sure lunch was ready for the eight of us – or more if a family was invited to join us. But she never complained. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if the Sunday afternoon roast was implemented for just this reason. If it cooked a little longer it was okay, but lunch would be ready when we got there. And the more the merrier.
Growing up, people mattered. Whether they were an elderly couple in the church or a missionary family in for a short visit, mom and dad always had a place for them at our table.
I think therefore when I answer the question “What do I value?” People, is one of my responses.
I value people, not any one type of person, not for what they can offer, not for how they may make me feel. I value people because people matter.
When we look at the life of Jesus, how He lovingly spoke to the woman at the well, how He warmly welcomed the children to come sit with Him, how he cried when His dear friend Lazarus died, we see how He valued people.
John 15:9-17 sums it up perfectly “As the Father has loved me, so have loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. my command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no on that this: to lay down own’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last- and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: love each other.”
What more can be said? People matter, enough that we should love them enough to be willing to lay down our own lives to save them.