It’s a God thing when the topic discerned for a wedding message becomes useful days leading up to and following that day! This latest message theme was, “Some things are loved because they are valued, and some are valued because they are loved.”
This simple truth flowing from 1 John 4 covers everything from the past week…
…from the artist who had trouble pricing her work. She felt guilty if she charged more than her actual cost, (never mind time or talent or inspiration) or if the piece didn’t have deep meaning in her own life. She painted a lovely painting in record time and now someone actually wanted to buy it?!? But the purchaser didn’t derive their appreciation for the work from the artist’s life, the actual cost, or even the time, talent or inspiration. They walked by, saw an image that brought back a memory, a trip, a dream, a wonderful part of their life they might have thought they’d lost. And they wanted to keep that love feeling forever…on a wall in their home. There’s value because it’s loved.
…to the young mom who can’t understand why people can’t just get along and not be mean to each other. That’s because v.5 “They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” When you are loving enough to see the error, you can be loving enough to pray for those who do not yet see, and praise God that you can! When we recognize the value of not doing what the world does, I think God loves that, and in turn we are better able to have some peace. We understand that even the unloveable among us have value to God or they wouldn’t be here. It’s up to us to pray for them, not prey on them.
…to the various ages and stages who feel a disconnection from people, those who spend more time chatting online than with the people in the room with them right now…love is a choice and connection is a goal. And although real connection seems scary to you, vs. 17-21 talk about having no room in love for fear, meaning when we set loving others (and ourselves) as a God goal – that crippling fearful life, fear of death and of judgment is replaced by that growing love. Are they suddenly surrounded by lovable people who make every day rainbows, sprinkles and unicorns? No. But you understand much clearer the words of verses 20 and 21 “Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars, for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen (even virtually, mind you) cannot love God whom they have not seen. How do we treat the people we love? With respect? With kindness and patience even when they try out patience? Well, the command we are to obey is this: Those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. Doesn’t say love the ones that are easy to love or that love you back the way you most enjoy. Doesn’t say to limit love to those you agree with. It also doesn’t command you to put yourself into harms way or distress over those who abuse the privilege of your care. Just love them, even from afar if you must.
But as a United Methodist I adhere also to John Wesley’s Three Rules – Do no harm. Do Good. Stay in love with God. It’s so critical for my peace that I’m offering 3 week sessions of a study based on the rules the first three weeks of November. If you want to join, check it out!
Bottom line: There was a teddy bear I deeply adored when I was little. It was at Gram’s house. It was greenish and adorable and missing one eye. But to me it was the most splendid friend! To Gram, and I’m sure most anyone who saw it, it was an old, sad looking thing. That’s how we view others sometimes, as a sad looking thing maybe even worth nothing more than showing the door. But God doesn’t see us that way. And as those made in His image, we are meant to see others through God’s lens…and treat them accordingly…to consider God and neighbor before self. Imagine how your family, church, community, and nation would be transformed?
Some things are loved because they are valuable.
Some things are valuable because they are loved.
YOU are the latter “some things” who are loved by God…and me, too. Peace. 🥰