3 Ways That #YouMatter
February 15, 2023 Creekwood United Methodist Church

Perceived Value - Deep Thoughts

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Why Do #YouMatter?

Going back to the ancient history of 1990’s Contemporary Christian music, Michael W. Smith recorded a song titled, “Place in This World.” It’s a ballad of a wandering soul looking for a reason for existing and a purpose for being. He wasn’t the first one, however.

In 1758, Robert Robinson penned the lyrics to “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” with the powerful line, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” On a more secular side of music, in 1961 Dion DiMucci’s “The Wanderer” details a man’s penchant for “roamin’ around and around and around” as he seeks meaning and purpose by “loving and leaving” as many women as he can. DiMucci clearly wanted us to know his wanderlust, as the same album brings us “Runaround Sue,” the exact same song only with a female anti-hero.

Fast forward to the present and this quest still hasn’t ended. Nationwide, suicide rates amongst young people have skyrocketed in the last decade, and violent crime has been on the rise as people seek to prove their worth and gain their territory. The number of people of any age on medication for anxiety and depression has risen, and while we could argue that people of all eras could have benefited from this type of medication, the emotional pressure felt in the modern world has been described as potentially the harshest and most demanding of any era in history.

The quest to find our place in this world and why we matter seems an eternal journey.

But Christ’s Church has something to say about this. Let me share 3 ways you matter, and hope you know that no matter who you are, where you are, or how you are – #YouMatter.

Luke 12:6-7 – “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs on your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Some Christian theologies emphasize the wickedness or total depravity of humanity. Surely, it’s obvious that we are capable of evil – and perhaps it’s easy to say, “we’re worthless” when we fail or see the moral failure of others. But Jesus emphasizes what a more orthodox theology believes: #YouMatter.

Jesus gives a pretty low exchange rate for the sparrows. With that low a price, it’s almost as if they have no value at all. But Jesus affirms that not one of those sparrows is forgotten. To add a mixture of hyperbole and truth, he adds on, “the hairs on your head are all counted.”

I have two daughters. They have a lot of hair. I know because I clean it out of drains almost every month. If they sat down and asked me to count the number of hairs on their head, I would tell them that no matter how much I love them, there are just some things I don’t need to know. But God doesn’t. God finds us to be of the utmost importance that every individual hair, on every individual head, is known by God.

This is the orthodox theology that acknowledges our freedom to choose evil, but acknowledges that we are created in God’s image. The tells us that God works within us and through us before we ever have the mental capacity to put a name to God, much less give our life to Christ.

For a God so powerful, so creative, and so much grander than us to know the most intimate details about us and choose to use each one of us in even the smallest acts of kindness – surely #YouMatter.

John 14:1-3 – “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”

We often forget that the disciples that followed Jesus while he walked the earth were still looking for their place in this world too. Sure, they had mission and purpose for 3 years, but who leaves a stable job and their families to follow a vagabond rabbi for 3 years, unless they were looking for a deeper purpose for their wandering hearts? Then, at the end, Jesus informs them that he won’t be with them in the flesh anymore. Their leader, their purpose, is going away. Peter desperately calls out, “Why can’t I follow you where you are going?!”

So Jesus gives them reassurance. He’s going to prepare a place for them, and for us. And if he’s making all this room, for all the people of the world, then he’s not going to leave it all empty.

A young man once came to my church on a Friday afternoon convinced his life was over. He had been let go from his job, his girlfriend had broken up with him months before, and he’d never fulfilled the traditional next step of having a college degree. This man wasn’t coming to a church to atone for his sins, in the traditional understanding of justification and atonement that churches most often refer to when talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection. This young man needed to know that he had a place in this world. He needed to know that he belonged and that God wanted him when it seemed no one else did.

Justification is a theological word that means “make right with,” and often refers to how we are “made right with God” because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Some people say we owed God a debt for ours sins against God, which Jesus paid. Some say that sin leads to death, and Jesus gave death a knock out punch by coming back to life, therefore freeing us from death through his work. There are many different theories, but in this moment, justification meant #YouMatter.

Not only did God know this young man, and every hair on his head, but God desired this young man to know how loved he was, is, and will always be that God took on flesh to be with this young man, and those like him. God ultimately gave his life to say, “you matter so much, that even if you can’t come closer to me, I’m going to come closer to you.”

Jesus not only prepares a place for us in heaven, but God’s presence with us assures us that we have a place in this world as well. Each and every one of us.

John 5:20 – “The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater work than these, so that you will be astonished.”

John 14:12 – “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these…”

I have been told by my therapist friends that the best way to overcome a sense of hopelessness or worthlessness is to go serve someone else. It might seem counterintuitive at first, but it makes sense when you think about “mattering.” Those who are longing to find their place in this world aren’t just looking for a charitable case of acceptance. We who are wandering are looking to discern what measurable impact we will make in our lifetime. Serving others is a great way out of worthlessness because you instantly see that “if you hadn’t been there, none of that ‘goodness’ would have occurred.”

Jesus launches a global movement with these words in John 14. No longer is the movement of God just a private conversation between God and Jesus (if it ever was), but now Jesus is letting us in on the secret that we have all the power in the world to love how he loves. Paul, an early church evangelist, told the churches in RomeEphesus, and Corinthians that they are the Body of Christ – each one of them a part of a larger, greater whole.

I get the privilege of being at the center of almost every decision and direction at the church I serve. I am honored to be trusted to stand on stage and expound upon the scriptural wisdom and relate it to how we can be Christ’s body effectively today. I also get invited into people’s most intimate moments of joy or pain, helping them heal or celebrate well. It’s a big job. But do you know who is most likely the most important people at our church? The nursery workers. Without nursery workers, we do not have young families coming to worship, and if they don’t regularly worship, then they seldom grow in faith and connection, and if they don’t grow, then they usually slip into habits of pursuing pleasure and purpose somewhere else.

Often our wandering and wondering is brought about by the question of, “what good can I do?” which comes about because of jealousy or comparison. Paul expounds upon Jesus’ message by encouraging us to own our unique contribution as special and important, no matter how big or how small. Perhaps you will never lead an environmental revolution that brings clean water to every human in the world. But maybe you’re really good at cheering people up so that they are in a better mental space to lead a revolution for clean water.

No matter who you are, you are a part of God’s plan.



David Lessner

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