I believe people matter to God.
Most of the time. The harsh truth is, my thoughts and behaviors reveal what I really believe at any given point. So do yours.
Like when I'm irritated that my restaurant server is not only in the weeds, but seems to be growing them intentionally. He's not attentive. My iced tea glass remains empty. I can't get his attention to send my over-cooked steak back to the kitchen. He's in too much of a hurry when he does come by the table to communicate genuine interest in my experience. Am I the only one that finds this kind of experience disappointing? Even irritating?
There's a fair chance - if I'm honest; and I'm being honest - that in my frustration in this experience, I'm not thinking, "this guy matters to Jesus." There is a good chance I'm thinking that this guy is in the wrong business, poorly trained or generally aloof.
Here's what's crazy. When Mr. Inattentive Server Guy shows up at my church for service on the weekend, my mind and heart go someplace very different. I see him walk in, and I immediately extend overt value and worth to him. Really?
Did he somehow gain value because he walked into our church building? Did he suddenly become worthy of my favor and interest as someone who matters to God?
No, you know the truth. So do I. God's posture toward Mr. Inattentive Server Guy was the same on Friday evening at dinner as it is when he comes to a weekend service. God loves him. Period. Nor does God see him as Mr. Inattentive Server Guy. That's my label, not God's.
In our church service this man will hear the message that he matters to God. But, sadly, he may not believe it because I risk sending a message that is incongruent with the words he hears in the service. That would be tragic. I cannot let this happen. We cannot let this happen.
Paul said in his letter to the Christ-followers in Colosse:
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
The point is, the grace of God through Jesus Christ, invites everyone who feels on the outside to experience the Family. He longs for them to be "insiders" - fully participating in the wonder and reality of His love. Making the most of every opportunity to wisely communicate God's love doesn't begin with the weekend service message, or the songs of worship, or even the greeting. Making the most of every opportunity happens at Target, in my neighborhood and in the local restaurant Friday evening.
People matter to God. All the time.
How will you live out God's grace today? Because people matter to God.