Warning! This is not a warm, fuzzy, lift-you-up blog about how special you are! Well, not exactly. In this feel-good age of “You’re Okay, I’m Okay” fake theology, it’s easy to lose sight of what it really means to matter or be special. I’m not saying I’m an expert, by any means, but God’s taught me a thing or two along the way and I’m gonna share. I’m fairly new to the Church of God and at first, I would get so tickled to hear one of the preachers say “God sent me to tell you…” Well, guess what! God sent me to tell you that you matter! (Hang on, I ain’t done yet.)
In “Horton Hears a Who,” Dr. Seuss, that magnificent uplifter of children’s hearts, tries to teach kids that it doesn’t matter how small you are or how insignificant you feel, you can make a difference. The catchphrase of the movie is “a person is a person no matter how small!” And, we’ve all heard the analogy of the ripples caused by a stone. Toss a stone into the water and the ripples continue far beyond the reach of what that one small stone can touch. And so it is with us.
As a young woman, very new in my faith and extremely unsure of myself, I needed to learn that I mattered. You see, I didn’t have any friends to speak of. No one that called me up and said “hey! let’s go (fill in the blank)!” I had a young daughter and a sick husband. I was lonely, sad and angry. We started getting involved in church a little, but still I held my distance. They had a women’s retreat and my husband convinced me to go….as well as a woman at church I barely knew. That retreat changed my life. Not all at once, mind you. It has taken years for the work that was started there to get to where I am now. I’m certain it’s not done, but I’m a lot closer than I was.
You see, after that retreat, people started “discovering” me. That I was a goofball who loves to laugh. That I’m really a pretty okay person. I was shocked to discover that people actually liked me! At last, I was developing friendships. But, I had a lot to learn about being a friend. At first, I was a taker and not much of a giver. When a friend would say “I love you,” it would stop me in my tracks. I was never sure how to respond. (and those of you who are going “you say it back you big dummy!” don’t know the woman I was!) I would smile or mutter “love you too” under my breath. When friends would do something for me, I would say thank you, but I rarely did kind things for them. And, the truth of the matter is this: I didn’t think I had anything to offer! I didn’t have much money. I didn’t think I was a good cook. I assumed that they had so many friends (way better than me!) that the little something I could offer wouldn’t matter. I was missing the point.
The point is….you matter. If God gives you even a passing thought of “hey….I should _______ for _____,” then you should obey that. You may never know how much that pack of gum, lasagna, friendly text, hug, smile, etc, etc, etc could mean to the receiver. Some of my most treasured gifts haven’t cost much money – but they cost emotion and time. A card in the mail that says “I’m praying and I love you.” A small business card sized card you can buy at Lifeway with butterflies….written on the back is “Glad you have you as my friend!” A plastic lemon. (ha! don’t ask!) A good morning text as I’m trying to see to drive through my tears. And these are just a few examples. There are tons more. These things mattered because they came at a time that I desperately needed to know that God hadn’t forgotten me.
I vividly remember the first time I realized that my “not very much” that I didn’t do would have made a difference. I don’t remember the situation. But, I remember the pain. The pain of knowing that God had put this person on my heart and I didn’t follow through at a time they desperately needed to remember that God still loved them. See….because I didn’t do that one little thing, I caused her pain because she thought no one cared. Ouch. Don’t underestimate yourself! If you belong to God, then your “not very much” is huge! And needed! And missed when not offered. Don’t let the enemy of your soul convince you for a second that it won’t matter because it does. Maybe that person does have other friends, but they only have one you. Don’t cheat them out of the special gift that only you can offer.
Now, I know this is long and rambling. And I warned you that it wasn’t a feel-good message. But, you need to know that you matter! And what you do matters! So, bake that lasagna, hug that neck, send that text or card, make that call, smile, speak….whatever it is….just do it! And, if you think I’ve written this especially for you….then I probably did.
Be blessed and tell someone you love them! (My guess is they need it right now.)
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 NASB