Isaiah 43:4a. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.
Nearly every time one of my dearest friends comes to my house, she does the same thing. She comes in and either picks up or points at something and says, ”Ok, Beth. Now tell me the story of this because everything in your house has a story.” And she’s absolutely right!
Be it any of the following: the sturdy mismatched kitchen table chairs rescued and restored by my grandfather from the clean out of a now long-gone schoolhouse; the unwanted rock collection I found buried in an old storage room at my university which now beautifully and effectively helps sort the ever-growing piles of papers in my home office; the approaching ninety year-old crystal dish set from England which Andy’s grandmother received at her wedding and gave to us for our wedding; or…I’m sure you get the picture by now.
Most of the things in our home are early American attic or basement with a leaning towards the quirky, to put it nicely. The rusted and painted-over iron toy cook-stove and its skillets and pans remind me of the times my great-aunt would play with me when I was little. This set was my great-aunt’s only toy as a child because she was an orphan taken in by older cousins. The stick covered in varied colors of paint reminds me of the times I would spend with my grandfather in the basement “helping” him with all sorts of projects. He had the belief that nothing was beyond use with just a little more elbow grease, time, and another layer of paint.
None of the contents of our house would qualify as treasure for “Antiques Roadshow” or “American Pickers”, much less a museum. In fact, probably a lot of it is only worth putting out for the trash. Yet to us, all of it is valuable because of the stories associated with it.
Similarly, the same applies to me. I have no worth outside of the Jesus-story associated with my life. My value comes from His death, burial, and resurrection that makes me righteous. Nothing I possess, have done, or could do qualifies me to be anything other than filthy rags that should be put out for the trash (see Isaiah 64:6).
Yet, Jesus didn’t leave me an orphan; He adopted me as His own (see John 14:18).
Jesus didn’t reject me as unfit; He applied His love to clean me whiter than snow (see Psalm 51:7).
Jesus didn’t let me remain buried; He brought me out and uses me for His purpose (see Ephesians 2:10).
Jesus didn’t see me as mismatched; He formed me in His image (see Psalm 139:15-17).
Jesus didn’t give up on me; He redeemed me (see Titus 2:14).
And now, Jesus keeps me close so that I can better see with His eyes the value of those He puts in my life. He gives me opportunity each time a student or colleague comes into my office to affirm that this student, this colleague is valuable because of the Jesus-story written about her life. He gives me opportunity each time a neighbor or stranger comes to my house to proclaim that this neighbor, this stranger is valuable because of the Jesus-love there waiting for him to claim.
Every moment can be an opportunity for a new Jesus-story to start in someone’s life, including your own.
Right now, right here – Jesus loves you; He treasures you.
1 Peter 2:4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,
Thank You that You had planned the story of Jesus for my redemption before You spoke creation into being. Thank You that You gave Jesus for me, for all of us. Thank You for doing what none of us could ever do for ourselves. Please help me to see others as valuable because that’s how You see them. Please help me to gently and persistently tell others of the deep Jesus-love You have for them. Thank You for never giving up on any of us.
In the strong Name of Jesus,
written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2021