Monday, January 6, 2014

When You're Just Not Sure What You're Worth {Messy Monday}

We're not a family that plays by the rules.

Wow, that sounds way cooler than it is.

What I really mean is, at one point every week there comes a time when we flip the rules of value and worth on their heads, and it's all based purely on a whim. That point is offering.

Our church does kids' offering a bit differently than the churches I remember from my youth. Instead of a Sunday school offering, the segment of our worship service dedicated to collecting adult offering is also a time for the children to come forward and bring their offerings as well. Big kids pass the plate. Little kids run to the front of the church and drop their offerings into the fishbowl. The fishbowl offering then goes to the missionary we've elected to support that year.

Funny thing about fishbowls- they can get super loud when you're tossing coins in them.

It is for that reason that once a week any amount of change is greater than any amount of dollar bills. I hand the kids their dollar bill and they aw and pout. I give them a handful of pennies and they're giddy. The clink of the coins far surpasses the number on the currency.

I blame their childhood naivete. I also blame my husband. Here's why:

Every October, the hubs and I attend a benefit dinner called "Christmas in October." It is put on by the retailers in our town (whoop small towns!) and the money raised goes to a fund to help the children of our town celebrate Christmas. The town businesses also contribute some sweet door prizes that you get to choose from when your name is called. Last year we got 6 months of free cable between the two of us.

This year, we received a sneak peek at some of the goods, and from the moment my husband saw the piggy bank, it had to be his. He kept talking about it. Coveting the cleverly folded two-dollar bill that served as mo-hawk in the top slot of the pig. Of course it was filled with coins, but the real hook was that two-dollar bill. He adores those things.

Anyway, the night of the banquet, my name was called relatively early on. I raced over to the table and scoped out the gift certificates, centerpieces, wines. Time was of the essence. There was the envelope, "3 months free cable." And there were the pigs. Two of them. 

I hesitated as my eyes darted between the pigs and the certificate. I had to determine which was more valuable. I knew what I had to do. I snatched the swine and presented it with both hands to my husband. He was ecstatic. For the rest of the night, our table guessed at just how much money was in that thing. Look at all the... pennies. Ooh, a silver dollar! Maybe there are more of those in there! What if there's a twenty hidden in the middle?...

We got home and poured out the porker. Twenty bucks. Total.

But for that night, those twenty bucks were far more valuable than the free cable.

Maybe you don't see it that way. But my choice put love far above money.

Guess who else did that... Did you guess Jesus? Then you're right! 

As I saw the eyes of my children light up when I handed them their offering coins yesterday, I thought about how God is always flipping my idea of what is truly valuable. By nature, I don't get monetary compensation for my job. There are times when I'm tempted to think that my lack of exciting business trips, or social contacts with important people really just reflects that I'm not really that important. 

I couldn't be more wrong. And if you ever feel like you just aren't that valuable, you couldn't be more wrong.

Jesus came to an "unimportant" family and lived in an "unimportant" town. It always cracks me up to read Nathanael's response when Philip tells him they found the Messiah: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46)

Jesus called children to Him, "unimportant" by society's standards for sure, and warned the people about leading one of these precious ones astray because the "kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14)

Jesus sat before hundreds and thousands of "unimportant" people and went into detail about the blessed people in the world. They are the 
poor in spirit, 
the mourners, 
the meek,
the hungry and thirsty for righteousness,
the peacemakers,
the persecuted,
the reviled.

As a parent, my job is to make sure my children know God's standard of value.

As a writer, my job is remind you God's standard of value.

As a blessed daughter, my job is to simply believe God when He speaks, regardless of what I see. Praise Him that He finds me valuable enough to give me the strength to believe that. And that He gives me you dear friends to remind me when I forget.

You are loved. You are valuable beyond words. So valuable, in fact, that The Word became flesh, lived, died and rose for you. It is my prayer that the knowledge of that moves past your eyes and mind into your heart. It is my prayer that you believe that today, and that those words that speak life into you may spring forth into the lives of those around you. It is my prayer that our neighbors find out just how valuable they truly are in God's eyes- even in their Messy Mondays.

Are there any moments in the Bible or in your life that have stood as reminders of how God values the things that the world disregards? Your comments and conversation are valuable- to me, to God, to others. Bless you this week!

And today I link up with Inspire Me Monday!