Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Mid-Week Message - Valued by God

"For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16  (NLT)

In the yearly television special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown is sent to choose a Christmas tree for the play that the children are to perform in school.  He and Linus go to a tree lot that is filled with all types of large, beautiful trees.  When Charlie Brown sees a small, scraggly twig of a tree that has obviously been passed over by other customers, he decides that it needs a home.  Although warned by his companion that the other children will not be happy, Charlie Brown sees in this little tree something of value and happily presents it to a group of children who immediately express their displeasure.  Not only do they find fault with the tree, but also with Charlie Brown.  Sadly, he carries it away.  When he arrives home, he hangs an ornament on it and the tree promptly falls to the side.  Assuming he has killed it, Charlie hangs his head and leaves.  Led by Linus who wraps his beloved blanket around its base, the other children decorate the little tree and it becomes beautiful.  Linus declares that it wasn't a bad little tree, it just needed a little love.  

Many people go through times in their life when they feel that they are of no value.  This can lead to isolation from others, depression and even suicide.  God created us to be social creatures.  We all want to fit in, to be accepted and to feel that our presence is desired.  A good example of this is when as children we are told to choose teams for a sport.  Two people are chosen as team "captains" and the other children wait to hear which team they are chosen to be on.  As the names are called, inevitably someone is chosen last.  Were you ever that person?  How did it feel?  

When I was a student in college, one of my professors did an experiment using this same scenario.  He chose two people to choose teams.  He did not indicate what activity the teams were for.  As they went through the process of selection, eventually there were two people left unchosen.  I was one of them.  Having experienced this throughout my school years, all the emotions came flooding back and it was all I could do not to run from the room.  In that moment I began questioning why I was not good enough to be chosen and to wonder why I was of no value.  I don't remember what the experiment was for but, even after all these years, I still remember how I felt in that moment.  

Scripture is full of reassurance that we are loved by our heavenly Father beyond measure but, in my opinion, John 3:16 is the best.  Almighty God, who is lacking in nothing, has no need of anything or anyone, chose to create us, then, out of His amazing love, He chose to redeem us by sending His one and only Son to die for our sins to make it possible for us to share eternity in His presence.  These beautiful words include us all.  No one is singled out or excluded.  He does not love some of us more than others or find more value in one than someone else.  

I don't know what you are experiencing today.  I hope that you are doing well and feeling loved and valued by those around you.  If not, I urge to you pick up your Bible and start reading. Start with the book of John where you will encounter today's verse and you will begin to feel like that little tree.  As you read you will feel like a warm blanket is being wrapped around you and you will see the value the Lord finds in you.  People are imperfect in perception, however your Creator knows all the qualities He placed in you for His purposes and knows your thoughts and emotions intimately.  Allow His Word to bathe you in the knowledge that His love for you is complete.  If you are like me, you will be overwhelmed by what you find.  God bless. 

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