A few months ago, I was listening to Pastor David Jeremiah on the radio, and was inspired by his message. He was highlighting the stark contrast between how we, on Earth, assume a person’s identity from their academic, athletic, or career accomplishments; while God focuses on a person’s character and attributes. Their actions are a byproduct. We are excited about what a person does. We focus on the ministry. However, God is most excited about who a person is. God focuses on the minister. God looks to who a person is to determine identity. God’s preparation of the worker is most important to Him. God is more concerned about the worker than the work because if a person is who they should be, then what they do will be right.
During the radio program, I was scribbling notes as fast I could. After reading my notes again I was struck with the thought that I WAS MORE. More than what I did. More than what I know. More than my mistakes and awards. I was more important to God than all that.
Each of us are more important to God that all that. Because God focuses more on who we are. He shows us our value is internal. He focuses on our capacity to love, to forgive, to help others, to give grace—these are the things that matter to God.
During this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place, I have been able to enjoy a book I’ve wanted to read but just didn’t have the time—C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. A good friend gave me the book. For context, I’m a late bloomer Christian. I was in my thirties when the Lord wrapped His loving arms around me and changed my life. So I missed a lot not growing up in faith. As I dug into the book, I began to see how the environment, when Lewis wrote this series on the Christian faith, was strikingly similar to what we are experiencing today. But I was also struck that what Jeremiah was saying a few months ago and what Lewis had said decades ago was nearly identical.
What really matters is who we are on the inside.
What matters in society, in our lives, and to God is who we are in our hearts. We are more. We are divinely created to be kind, be of service, and love one another.
The revelations from Jeremiah’s and Lewis’ messages have been galvanized into my view of family, friends, colleagues because of a recent event. Just this past weekend my beloved father-in-law, Steve, passed away from cancer. I have been reminiscing over the nearly twenty-eight years I have known Steve and the humor that he brought to my life. None of what I remember has anything to do with things, money, or status. He brought laughter, a love of books and tea. He brought kindness and wit.
I remembered when I was struggling with the tenth revision of my dissertation and he offered to read it. Over two hundred pages about gender differences and what teachers need to know. He read ever word and gave me insight and edit suggestions that made my words better. Aside from my professors, I’m pretty sure he’s the only one who ever read my dissertation. It wasn’t the action of taking the time with my dissertation that defined Steve, but rather his natural encouragement, wisdom, and caring nature. That’s what God looks for.
And I’ve also concluded: Who we are is more than what we do.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Categories: Devotion of the Week