Worth It

For too long I’ve walked into my classroom with a negative narrative playing in my head: these kids don’t care, they don’t want to listen, they don’t like this subject, they definitely don’t like me. I became, in many ways, my own self-fulfilling prophecy. The students weren’t mean or anything, but by unconsciously keeping them at arm’s length, I kept them just far enough away that some of them lost interest. This wasn’t intentional, but when we stop seeing our worth, we stop realizing our usefulness, and in the end, we stop realizing the significant role we play in the lives of those around us.

Can I encourage you for a moment?

You are needed. You are needed in your family. You are needed in your church. You are needed at home with your kids. You are needed at work, at school, at the grocery store. Sometimes, we wrongly believe that we aren’t important in the lives of others, but this is a lie from the enemy to keep us from impacting the world around us. People need our shoulder to cry on, our words of encouragement, our prayers, our presence. Our lives have worth and meaning that far exceeds anything we can imagine. We are not products of random chance. We were purposely and divinely created to fulfill God’s purposes that have been planned in advance (Ephesians 2:10).

By failing to recognize my worth as a teacher, I missed countless opportunities to build connections and to impart wisdom with a greater number of students. It’s a mistake I never want to make again.

Keep in mind, it’s not about us trying to do more or striving to be better; it’s the work of Christ in us. He has equipped us for every good work (II Timothy 3:17). He sees us as worthwhile, so much so that He gave His life for us. Romans 5:6-8 reads:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God’s best is a life lived in community and fellowship with others. Don’t listen to the lies. You are needed. You are worthwhile. There are people in your life that only you have access to. Don’t miss another opportunity to use your gifts in making someone else know they are worthy too.

 

No Promise of Comfort

It’s probably the fourth time in the last few weeks that I’ve read or heard a devotional on comfort. And I know that when I hear something that many times, God is trying to tell me something.

Maybe you’re like me. You want God’s best. You even pray for God’s will to be done. But when life gets hard or the devil attacks, you wonder if it’s worth it. Lately, I have found myself uttering these words over and over again,

“Why can’t I just stay
where it’s comfortable?”

It occurred to me this morning that Satan has lulled many of us to sleep with the promise of comfort. We are stuffed full with the pleasures of this world, unable and unwilling to move from the table. This imagery got me thinking of a character in C.S. Lewis’ book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

In the story, The White Witch, as she was called, lulled Edmund, one of the Pevensie children, into submission through a delicacy known as, Turkish Delight. He became entranced by her sweet treats and by her promise of power. See, Edmund didn’t realize that he was already predestined for royalty. But the queen knew this, and she set out to destroy Edmund before his promise could be fulfilled. Edmund easily traded God’s purpose and plan for a comfortable seat at the enemy’s table.

lwwi

How many of us have done the same thing without even realizing it? It’s so subtle. We are Christians. We try to live the “Christian” life. We go to church and do good deeds. We even read our Bible and strive for a closeness with our Savior. But would we be willing to trade all of our comforts to follow Him with our entire being? I always thought I would until that thought became more of a reality, and the calling to give up some of my comforts has caused some tension in my spiritual walk.

In the story, the other Pevensie children had to go through a severe battle in order to reach their promised throne. They chose to stand with Aslan, the allegorical Christ figure of the story, instead of the White Witch who offered an easier way to riches. In the climax of the story, Aslan sacrificed his life for Edmund so that he would have a second chance to sit at God’s table.

Christ has already made that same sacrifice for us and many of us are now living our second chance. Why should we be chained once again to the “yoke of slavery” even if it does have the appearance of being easier and lighter? In reality, it may be that the enemy of this world is stealing God’s intended purposes for our lives.

Jesus never promised us a comfortable life. But He did promise us an abundant life, one filled with joy and hope, along with an eternity as part of His royal family.

 

In the terminal, waiting for the bus to take me to Gloryland.

I admit, I don’t really like to think about heaven all that much. Ever since I was little, thoughts of eternity would suffocate my mind until I cried myself to sleep. I’m not sure why that bothered me so. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that I wasn’t alone. But now, I’ve found that as my relationship with the Lord has deepened (and maybe my trust has too), I have begun to see the significance of the verse:

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:2

This mindset is extremely difficult for a number of reasons. I mean, earth is where our loved-ones live. It’s where our careers are and where our hopes lie. It’s where we spend our time, our money, our…Oh…now I see the reason why God encourages us to think on things above.

There’s no stopping an individual with a heart pointed towards heaven. Everything he or she does will be for the glory of God. They will love their family, while cherishing every little second. They will serve in their careers, realizing people’s eternities hang in the balance. They will spend their money on things that matter, things that will last well beyond their time on earth. And maybe, if we fixed our eyes on heaven just a little bit more, we’d find more hope and less darkness, more purpose and less despair, more reason to live and equal reason to die.

Think about it, even when you’re waiting for a plane or a bus, you still hustle about airports and terminals biding your time. Yet, as you’re flipping through a magazine or ordering a latte, what are you doing the entire time? You’re looking at your watch. You’re keeping track of the time. You’re making the most of every second, listening and awaiting your departure call because we all know, that’s when the real adventure will begin. It’s just like life on Earth in that way. This isn’t our home. We’re only biding our time until our departure call. As we fix our sights on heaven, let’s make the most of every opportunity.

If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Savior, please consider accepting Him today. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Heaven is not going to be filled with good people. We could never do enough good to cover all the mistakes we have made. No, heaven is filled with sinners who put their faith in Jesus Christ. One prayer to Jesus can change everything both now and forevermore. Be blessed.