I know, if you have any experience with children, they are always watching. They are always listening, even when you don’t think they are. They can be utterly immersed in their own world, thinking and playing and still hear you say something or see you do something…you really should not have. We all heard it said, “Children are like sponges. They soak up everything around them.” – And they do. In Paul’s writing to Timothy, he gave him instructions in many things. He spoke several times about how Timothy was to behave and “carry” himself as a Christian. In 1 Timothy 4: 15-16, he says, 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. Paul was telling Timothy that his actions matter! The people in Ephesus were looking to him for guidance and that he was to be a living, breathing example of a life lived for Christ. When we claim to be “Christian,” the world watches us at all times. We are teaching people around us what it means to be a follower of Christ…for good or bad! The world is watching us when we drive our cars, stand in line at the grocery store, or at the courthouse paying our property taxes, or how we treat the waiter at the restaurant…We are always teaching; even when we think we are not.
Ok...So, I’m stealing this one from Dr. Tony Evans.
So, say I have a brand new $100 bill in my hand, how much is it worth to you? You would say $100, right? – I would.
What if I take that bill and wad it up? How much is it worth now? What if I put it in the mud and stomp on it? How much is it worth? What if I roll it in some of the nastiest stuff I could find? How much is it worth? What if I called you on the phone and said I’ve got this $100 bill, it’s pretty filthy, but if you want it you can have it. How many of you would still take it? – Most of us; because we see the true value of the thing. Despite all the wrinkles, dirt and filth, we see that no matter what, it is STILL worth what it was when it was spotless!
God still sees all of us as valuable right where we are! He will still go to the ends of the earth, chasing after these messy creatures that we are. He has the power to wash us clean and make us whole.
You are valuable! Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently!
My Thought for Your Week If you know of someone who thinks they are not worthy of love or forgiveness, let them know they are worthy! Let them know they are loved, wanted and valuable to God – no matter how much crud they’ve gone through!
So, a while back, there was this group of really wonderful people who absolutely LOVED hamburgers. They would get together and share recipes and talk hamburgers for hours and hours. They quickly became a beautiful hamburger family. They were bound together by their LOVE of hamburgers!
One day, the group came upon this, absolutely, fantastic idea; We are going to open a hamburger place! And they did!
They pooled their resources, built a building and filled it with tables and chairs and all things "hamburger." They advertised and told everyone one they knew about their new hamburger place. It was a beautiful place! It was a warm and friendly place. A place right on a highly trafficked location. It was a great, fun place to come to!
People of all shapes and sizes came to visit their new place! People who new alllll about hamburgers came! People who had never had a hamburger and knew absolutely nothing about hamburgers came! The people flowed in greatly! It was Wonderful!
However...when these wonderful guests would come into this wonderful place the conversation would go something like this:
Hamburger Groupie (HG): Welcome to our hamburger place! Guest: Thank you! I've heard about hamburgers. I know something about them & I would like to try one. HG: Oh, and you should! They are Wonderful! My life was changed when I found hamburgers! Guest: OK. So, what do you have? HG: Oh, hamburgers come just for you. What ever your needs may be... Guest: OK. So, I see pictures here. Do they come with all the stuff on them? How do you eat them? HG: I like them with EVERYTHING on them! They come on a plate, in a box, in a wrapper, in a bag. You can eat them with your fingers or with a fork; however it works for you! Guest: Great! I'll try one just the way YOU like them and see what happens! HG: Great! You should! Guest: Great! That's what I'll have then. HG: Great! I can guarantee you'll LOVE it! Guest: So, do I tell you what I want or someone else? HG: Oh, you can share that with any one of us here! We would LOVE to hear what you want! Guest: OK. Then that's what I'll have. HG: Great! Thanks for sharing! We're glad you're here! Guest: So...When will I get the hamburger? HG: Whenever you're ready to receive it! Guest: OK! I'm ready! HG: Great! OK, so I'm going to go talk to some of our other guests. Stay as long as you'd like! We're glad you're here! Guest: OK. So...do you bring it out to me or...? HG: Bring what to you? Guest: The hamburger. HG: Bring you a hamburger? Ooooh no. We don't actually have them here! Someday we will! Soon, I'm sure! Guest: So this is a hamburger place but I can't, actually, get hamburgers here? HG: Nooooo! We love hamburgers here! We love to talk about hamburgers! If you would like to actually have a hamburger, that's up to you to figure out how to get one!
And so, none of the guests that came to visit their beautiful establishment ever came back...But, the group continued for years and years because of their love for each other, and their love of hamburgers. They would use their own funds to provide for the upkeep of their building and activities. But their numbers slowly dwindled as they died off, one by one. And they would say to each other, as the years past, "No one loves hamburgers like they used to..."
Matthew 21:17-19 Good News Translation (GNT)
17 Jesus left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
18 On his way back to the city early next morning, Jesus was hungry. 19 He saw a fig tree by the side of the road and went to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. So he said to the tree, “You will never again bear fruit!” At once the fig tree dried up.
The Church has a job to do.
It's never to be a fruitless warehouse for believers.
People come to church because they are looking, searching for Christ.