Summary: Highlighting our 3rd Core belief
All People Matter To God
* Have you ever sat in an airport or a mall and just watch people? What an interesting and revealing time that is! You’ll see people of all races, cultures, and interest. You find their “attire” to be markedly different because God makes all people a little different than others.
* No matter what you might observe in an individual, at least 2 commonalities are present in every person you might see; first, they are created in God’s image, and next, THEY MATTER TO GOD. Give that a little thought and contrast this truth to the way we tend to see, judge, & even dismiss people.
* Here is the reality: If people matter to God then they must matter to God’s People. That would be us.
* Think about the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. He was all about people. He ministered to the lame, blind, deaf, leprous, paralyzed, poor, hurting, and many more. In fact, He seemed to seek out these people so that He could offer them a hand. It appears to me that His program was not a handout, but rather a hand to get started or restarted with their life.
* To be candid, Jesus ran into a group of people who enraged Him. This was the church leaders who were so busy “protecting the present church structure” that they couldn’t see the spiritual need of those in the shadow of the steeple.
* When we consider the words of our text, we can see the laser like focus of our Lord on people. As He was going about His life we read He taught, preach, and healed. Yet, He did something else which is indicative of the heart of our Lord, He observed. He looked at people through empathetic eyes and understood that they were weary & worn out having no direction.
* Today, people are in the same condition. We find people weary and worn out from going and doing and trying and losing. The sad part is that this is seen “inside” those who claim to be redeemed as it does those “outside”. I’ll suggest one of the reasons this is true is that while claiming to have the same heart as Christ, many have become like the world. Instead of looking out and to how we can be a blessing to others, we try to make people bless us. Thus, our selfishness become stronger and our ability to dismiss other gets greater resulting in blindness to others.
* Thankfully our Lord, Christ never became so enamored with Himself and His needs that He lost track of our needs. His life was totally and completely given as a ransom for many. God sent Him into the world for a specific purpose, He knew His purpose and He stayed with His divine purpose until it was fulfilled. Guess what, according to John 20:21, He sends us into this world with the same purpose God gave HIM.
* So, what do we do and who do we embrace this purpose through our lives? Let me offer us four simple suggestions.
1. We must be consistent. – An inconsistent person is an ineffective life. From the example of Jesus, we can learn the art (or the habit) of consistency. Watching Him, we discover that no matter what else happened He did 2 things; 1) He regularly communed with God in prayer, and 2) He focused on people.
* By communing with God in prayer, He kept a fresh sense of purpose from the Father. Because of His prayer life, He never lost the passion for Kingdom, the message, and people. Here is the sequence of Jesus’ earthly ministry; He spent time with the Father and took what He received from the Father to the people who so desperately needed it beginning with His disciples and then to the people. This is why we see Him (in verse 35) going to towns and villages & purposely meeting new people. Everywhere He went He did what He was designed to do; preach, teach, & heal.
* Consistency is not an easy thing. In fact, this week I read many quotes about consistency and what I discovered was disturbing. This is not a popular concept. Irish poet and novelist Oscar Wilde writes, “Consistency is the last resort of the unimaginative” and “Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect-simply a confession of failures.” This is only a couple of quote from many which castigate the concept of consistency. The first time I read these disturbed me deeply until I mediated on this concept, the need for it, and what the Lord said about it. Here is my conclusion; apart from the spirit of God, we have little hope of living a consistent life. Because of the fallen nature of mankind, we have a problem with focus and consistency.