Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014 - From Last Picked to First

Do you remember your younger days when everyone lined up in gym class or on the playground to choose teams? There was so much pride (arrogance) in being one of the first chosen; knowing that you were the one being counted on to deliver victory; knowing that you “da man.”

But think about those that were perpetually picked last… Can you imagine how they felt every time the teacher said to “line up?” It was a constant reminder that in the wide world of sports they were outcasts and screw-ups. They knew that most of the time it meant they would be standing around and never entrusted with the ball; and if given the ball they knew expectations were that they would turn it over. And in this world of misplaced priorities, that can sometimes cut to the core of a people’s identities – as though their self-worth is determined by their athletic prowess (or lack thereof.) Or their success (or lack thereof) in any endeavor for that matter… academics, the arts, looks, etc.

The reality is that we live in a culture which has based self-worth on the wrong things!

Let me go back a couple thousand years… at that time there were social norms that led to a very definite social class order. At the bottom of that social ladder were a group called shepherds. These people spent their time out in the fields protecting the flocks and basically only talking with each other. They were considered so low that when they did venture into town other people would not associate with them (including the religious leaders.) These folks had basically no worth in society and thus basically zero self-worth.

When it came time to announce the birth of the Savior, God the Father took a look at His line of people and went all the way to the end of the line… and chose some lowly shepherds as His first pick to hear about and meet Jesus! Are you getting this? The very ones that others neglected and ignored are the ones that God’s angel met with and made a promise to… a promise that was “good news to all people”; a promise of “a Savior”; a promise of “peace” and “good will.” (Read the story of the birth of Christ in Luke 2)

And the cool thing that happened is this… the shepherds found self-worth not in wins and losses but instead in the fact that God cared enough about them to approach them; in the fact that they had met the Savior; in the fact that their ultimate acceptance was not based upon what they accomplished but what would be accomplished through Jesus!

These “first picks” of God were so empowered by this truth that they went right back in the midst of all those that ignored and excluded them and became God’s spokespersons…  not based upon their own merits but instead on the attractive offer of peace and good will for men with God!

All of this to remind you that God loves you and wants to use you as His spokesperson. You matter to God! It is not based upon how good you think you are or if you deserve it; it is not a message of trying to get others to be good enough to deserve it; it is good news that has been entrusted to us that Christ is sufficient! In Him you have worth… and so can everyone else that places his faith in His finished work!

Merry CHRISTmas!

1 comment:

Julie said...

This is a wonderful post! One of the most uplifting I've read this year!! Amen