Am I the One?

It has been a pretty tough week in the Woody household. Both Pam and I are pretty tired and frustrated with our search for a new home. So much money to be laid out and so much of our time devoted to this endeavor. To add to all of this, Pam’s car conked-out on us and we had to spend even more of what we didn’t have to get her back on the road.

One night, after having spent hours at work laboring away at her job, Pam broke down a little. She began to cry and actually shivered on the bed as she truly believed she wasn’t adding anything to our home and wasn’t worth any value to our relationship.

Me, being the kind-hearted soul that I am, became not attentive and tender-loving as I should have been but, instead, became angry. Of course, this was only due to my belief in God and the value that He puts on all of us.

I explained to her how I felt. Sure, we both work hard every day. Up until now, the “slow season,” she had been working six days a week… all on her feet for the entire day with very little break time. I too typically work six days a week but I tried to explain the difference to her in this way:

“I work hard all day too… but here’s the difference between you and I. When I get home, I typically make my way to the bedroom, plop-down on the bed after taking off my clothes, and say ‘aaaahhhhh!’ You, on the other hand, have already done a couple loads of laundry; fed and walked the dog; and began preparing my dinner. After I’m fed and satisfied, you then wash all the pots and pans, my plate and the glass I used for my dinner beverage.”

“How then, after all of this you do for me, am I of more value to this household than you? How does the fact that I make more money, and pay for more of our bills, am I the major contributor in this relationship?”

“These are not things that matter in the eyes of our God! What matters to Him, is the compassion and love. It’s what He’s taught us; what we know is true; and the way He wants us to live our lives. You are special in the eyes of God… and so am I, but don’t ever believe that He favors one of us more than the other due to our income or what we do for a living. Focus, more so, on what we do for each other instead.”

After all this lecturing, I thought more about what I had said. How many more people don’t understand? How many more struggle with their own self-worth and have doubts of how important they really are… not only to themselves and others, but to God?

Have you not heard the good words or are you one of the lost sheep that hasn’t found their way here just yet?

I wanted to take a little time today to talk more about this topic. Is it our jobs that matter most? Is it the amount of money we have in our bank accounts that signify our importance in life? Does the make and model of our car put us above others… or how about our house?

Our Work

Let’s start with our jobs…

Each one of us here today has “a job” that they do. It may not be in an office; it may not be in a store; and it may not be in a factory. We all have something that we do… something that may come natural to us but others haven’t a clue of how we do it or why. It’s something God has given us. Something He wants us to do as that is why we’re here… to prepare ourselves for our life in Heaven.

John 5:16-17 – “So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.’”

Even Jesus knew what His job was here on this earth. He also taught us how we should work and why.

Colossians 3:23-24 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

You see, God isn’t asking that we work in order to become rich or famous. He simply tells us that we should work “with all our heart, as working for the Lord.” Our rewards will not come from here but, instead, in Heaven where we will receive an inheritance for our good work.

What We Do

Does it really matter what you do? Why do you think what you do is more insignificant than what anyone else might do? What makes you think that, our Father in Heaven, holds any less value in you than anyone else?

Are you a lost sheep, was I?

The homeless old man on the steps of my church – Do you remember this story?

This was the day I was struggling with my own self-worth and, as a result, was having a difficult time in my personal life including my marriage.

I had come to the church on a Saturday morning seeking time with the Pastor to see if he might have some insight on what I was doing wrong and how I could do better.

Instead, I found myself talking to an old, tattered-looking man whom, I thought, was just a groundskeeper for the church. After listening to my tales of woe he gave me a stern lecture on believing in myself. In not doing so, I was treating my family poorly as well as anybody I came in contact with. After this, he gave me a torn-up five-dollar bill and told me to “go pick-up a cup of coffee and think about things.”

I later learned this was not at all the groundskeeper but, instead, a homeless old man that the church would give five dollars to just to empty their trash bins from the offices inside.

This inspiring old man had just given me great words of kindness and wisdom as well as the only cash he had. How humbled I had been!

The bartender – When I had suffered great loss, I came to befriend a local bartender. God was fully aware of how I spent far too much time there but, nonetheless, had presented me with someone who willingly sat there with me and listened to all of my blabbering.

Through her kindness and compassion, I somehow found peace in her words. So, I ask you, is what she does below me or is the kindness in her heart well above what most others would have done?

The groundskeeper – I met a man at the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery. I came across him as he was raking-up some of the grass which had been blown onto the street. I asked him, “So how are things going? Having a good day?” To which his response was… “Just another day on the job.”

I thought about that too. Does he not realize how beautiful he is making things around our veterans? How can he not see what he has done? Another lost sheep?

God’s value in us – Who remembers the lesson of the twenty-dollar bill? Should I give you this example again or do you remember how God values us no matter what condition we may be in or how badly we doubt ourselves?

Are you a lost sheep, was I?

Why Worry?

Once Jesus has taken us back into His flock, why should we worry about things? This is all very clearly outlined for us in Matthew, please read carefully through these lesson from Jesus and try to understand.

Matthew 6:26-24 – “‘Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?’

‘So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?’

‘Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’”

Am I the One?

Was I the lost sheep, are you?

Matthew 18:12-14 – “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?

And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.”

So, to answer the question I posed at the start of this lesson… Yes, I am the one! I was the lost sheep that Jesus broke away from the flock to find… and so are you!

In all that you do… whether at work, at home or with your friends, remember… you are a part of Jesus’s flock and are important in all that you do. You matter to Him so matter to yourself.

You worship God’s word; you try your best, despite this world, to live as He would have you. Take great pride in this… stand-out among all the others with kindness, compassion and complete understanding of your value to God. How much stronger can you be?!

Amazing Grace

Ho I love this song! I never fail to be inspired by this song no matter how many times I listen to it… and, I’m not ashamed to tell you, I listen to it often and will continue to do so for the rest of my time here as this is truly the way I feel about my relationship with God.

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see

A wretch like me. How true was this statement was before Jesus sought me out and brought me back to His flock. I was completely lost; completely blind… but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Yes, after returning to Jesus’ flock, I learned to fear my God but, after learning and fully understand His grace… my fears relieved.

The Lord hath promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

His word my hope secures… how precious are His words? How much comfort do they bring? For me, they are my strength and all I need to face the battles I do every day of my life here.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

This, I have come to understand… when my Father calls me home, for all eternity… I will forever continue to praise His name!

Fourth of July

I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, this coming Wednesday, we celebrate the birth of our nation… our 242nd birthday as a country.

No, the Bible doesn’t talk about the Fourth of July but our Presidents and founding Fathers sure did…

George Washington (1st President)

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.

Andrew Jackson (7th President)

That Book, sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests.

Abraham Lincoln (16th President)

I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong.

Harry Truman (33rd President)

The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and Saint Matthew, from Isaiah and Saint Paul … If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State!

Ronald Reagan (40th President)

Inside the Bible’s pages lie all the answers to all of the problems man has ever known …It is my firm belief that the enduring values presented in its pages have a great meaning for each of us and for our nation. The Bible can touch our hearts, order our minds, and refresh our souls.

Go forth this week… celebrate the birth of our great Nation but, never forget,  the principals on which our country was founded.

In Conclusion

Don’t be the lost sheep. You have heard the words of our God, of our Savior, and they are always reaching out to you and me. Take their hand; walk beside them in all their glory. Never be afraid as your life is in their hands. Be strong. Be confident… Your Lord is proud of what He has in you!

Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless!