How Can A Person Like Me Be Uniquely Important? pt3
Not one of us can say, "Well, perhaps I am special in the mind of God, but there is nothing special about me that is of value to anyone else." Have you ever felt like that?
Many years ago, following a very serious heart attack, my Dad said, "Now I'm no good to anybody!" He cried. I was 16 at the time, and I had seen him cry only once before---the day his mother was buried. For some time, his physical activity was limited. Much more than doctors would require today. He was not to go back to work for at least 6 months. This strong man, who had worked hard as a carpenter all of his life, felt defeated and useless to himself and everybody else. Which one of us has not had this feeling, to some degree, at one time or another? Some are young and feel this way. For others, retirement or failing health may bring out these feelings.
Not so fast. My Dad had no idea how important he was to us at that very moment---and I might add, for 13 years following. During that time I watched him cry one more time, at my college graduation. Between the tears he said, "You done good, boy." How could anything on this earth have been of greater value to me? During those 13 years I watched him stand in the middle of the street and mediate a battle between two fighting neighbors. He held grandchildren, and lifted them high into the air. He planted vegetables so he could sell them at the road, (I think so he could brag about them to those who stopped. He never made much money at it.) He designed and built little wooden lawn chairs, just the right size for a 3-year old, and gave them to people who had such an animal at home. (I had kept one in my garage for the last 40 years. Recently I had the privilege of refinishing it so I could give it to my sister for her little 3 year old grandson. I think my Dad would be pleased.) I watched him buy coffee and doughnuts almost everyday in his retirement, and take them to the workers at the nearby Kroger supermarket so he could be part of their coffee break. My Dad had gifts beyond his roots.
I watched this simple man, with a 4th grade education and few resources, make himself very important to many people until the day he died pulling the cord on his damned stubborn lawn mower.
Did you notice how Jesus picked, for the most part, very simple folks to serve with him. He showed them their gifts, and in their own ways, each became important to many others. Jesus did not go to the seat of power to select his disciples, but into the dusty, ordinary streets; streets a lot like the ones you and I live on.
And Jesus was a simple man himself, from a simple family and a backwoods kind of town. He had few possessions, no 401K plan, no health insurance, no car that was always in the shop. He even appeared at times to be homeless. He said he didn't even have a nest or a fox's hole. We believe Isaiah 53 refers to Jesus when it describes him this way in the New International Version:
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
He was despised and rejected by men,
And yet, how important did Jesus become? Now then, I know we are not Jesus. But I believe that he calls every last one of us to put away the negative feelings, the limitations, the shortcomings. To stand tall, if we can. If not, then to sit tall. If we cannot sit, then to lay tall, and find ways to claim our unique importance with our brothers and sisters in this world, every day. You are more important than you know, just as you are, warts and all.
I want to do one more message in this series of uniqueness. Next week I will try to get on with specifics on ways we can express our unique importance.
Prayer: Father, Thank you for making me unique and important. Please show me how I can express it as you intend--today. Amen