“For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine . . . and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 This week’s assault on Facebook is 2 Timothy 4:3-4, with assorted memes and photos (one is a shot of the verse, in situ, […]
Not everyone’s Monday is actually on Monday. But regardless of what day your week starts, it’s highly likely that it’s not a smooth transition from your day off to your day on.
This low point of our week, when we grab the last 45 seconds in bed before we really have to tumble out of it, is a time when we can punish ourselves with dispiriting, discouraging thoughts — ones that we have a lot of help coming up with because our society focuses on the wrong things.
As Christians, we don’t have to fall for misconceptions. Let’s look at three encouraging, truthful thoughts that will get us out of bed, and through the week:
The Value of You
1) You matter. In the world of men, you are nothing more than matter — a collection of atoms that, through chance and evolution, jumbled together to become a dehumanized unit — a unit that works in a cubicle, a unit that purchases phone plans, a unit that banks somewhere, a unit with a specific amount of money that corporations, financial magnates, and governments want to get their hands on.
To these people, you don’t matter. You’re simply a number that, added to a bunch of other numbers, generates revenue for somebody else.
When God deals with numbers, however, He computes differently than we do:
We Count, in God’s Reckoning
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father,” Jesus says in Matthew 10: 29. If He were saying this today, He might rephrase it: “Is not a chicken in a large, commercial slaughterhouse considered worthless except as a boneless, skinless chicken breast? God gave that chicken life, and He values it, though man does not. Believe me, you’re worth a lot more than a chicken.”
Jesus continues: “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Today’s translation: “Human beings obsess about Facebook and Twitter Likes. I don’t.”) Men assign numbers to people — how many hits, how many transactions, how many faces in the pews.
Jesus, however, not only knows us, and calls us, by name — He lays down His life for us. (John 10: 14-15) When we realize that we don’t matter to the world of men, but we do matter to God, why do we spend so much time trying to impress the former?
Yes, You Make a Difference
2) Your work — and your life — make a difference.
Too many of the jobs we perform these days, to pay bills that go up with wages that don’t, seem pointless: we stamp things, we file papers, we put people on hold while we transfer them to an associate, we stand immobile when someone chews us out. At the end of the workday, few of us feel that we have created something, made a child smile, or salved a wounded heart. It’s easy to get discouraged and cynical when we want to make a significant difference in somebody — anybody — else’s life, but are frustrated by the inanity of our daily tasks.
But no honest work is dishonorable work, and where we are, right now, is where we do something for God every day, whether or not it is connected with our day, or night, job:
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2: 10)
Want to make a child smile? You don’t have to be a celebrity actress working for the United Nations; just be you, and the next time you interact with a child, get down on his or her level, truly listen to what they’re saying, and answer as if you considered them a real human being.
Use this technique with any human being, child or not, and moment by moment, day by day, you will make more of a positive difference, and will be doing good works, far beyond the scope of the most billionaire philanthropist.
3) You’re not on your own.
In the country in which I was born, the United States, people are praised for being aggressive, purpose-driven, forceful leadership types, and even those who should know better — Christians — seek out and reward confident, assertive, commanding luminaries who don’t list humility, meekness, and trust among their attributes (although, in a perverse twist that I’m seeing in the corporate world — so look for it in the churches, next — self-proclaimed leaders are extolling their “servant qualities.”)
God isn’t particularly interested in your good impression of yourself, although to man, and mankind, the outer shell that you project is far more important than the frail, imperfect person that you are inside.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” Psalm 3: 5 tells us. “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Do you know the future? He does:
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33: 3)
Free yourself from the bondage of having to pretend that you’re all put together, and rest in the arms of God.
You matter. You make a difference. And you’re not alone. Tell yourself these three things in those last 45 seconds, before you tumble out of bed.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I regularly — and increasingly — hear people talk about how worthless they are. Please, please stop. Look for the truth in the Bible, and tune out the voices of mankind.
Try this literally, by the way. Turn off your TV. Flip off the radio. Think twice before you hand some guy with a big, plastic smile a big, paper check for his seminar or sermon.
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